When it aired, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni really blew my mind with its mystery horror combination, so obviously I was looking forward to its spiritual successor: Umineko no Naku Koro ni. It really managed to take the Higurashi formula, and take it into a new, fresh and original direction with a really mind-blowing mystery-story.
Umineko at heart is a murder mystery-story with so many layers, so many red herrings and so many times at which the viewer is forced to look beyond the box for new clues as to the identity of the real killer. Higurashi already had me forming wild theories about what was going on, but this effect is even more noticeable in Umineko. It’s a really thought-provoking story that makes you think you have a clue as to what’s going on, only to throw a plot twist that renders all of your speculation useless. This mystery really is why you want to watch this series, because it really does this like no other.
It’s just a shame that the story’s incomplete. There’s no second season announced at this point, so at the end of the series, you’re not going to know what the heck happened throughout the majority of the series. This really is the thing that I hate the most about modern anime: that the shows with weak sales don’t get their much-needed sequels. Umineko is at the verge of becoming yet another one of them. NOTE TO SELF: delete this paragraph in the unlikely event that a second season does get announced.
Okay, so how about the execution? Unfortunately, it’s a bit rushed. Apparently, the creators tried to stuff 50 hours of visual novels into just 26 episodes, so a lot had to be cut. While the cuts were made skillfully so that the entire storyline is still intact, the direction feels rushed at times, and not as captivating as it could have been. The animation is rushed as well, but thankfully neither are bad enough to get in the way of what’s really important.
Because of that, I can say that I really enjoyed this series. It’s a thought-provoking series that really brings mystery to a whole new level. But where the heck is that second season?
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Direction could have been better, but well paced which keeps your attention.|
|Characters:||9/10 – Large and varied cast of characters where nobody feels redundant.|
|Production-Values:||7/10 – Good music, rushed animation.|
|Setting:||10/10 – Incredibly thought-provoking. Brings mystery to new levels.|