Posted on 10 September 2009 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei



Well, I guess that with this, Higurashi finally comes to an end, and I have to say that the creators couldn’t have chosen a better way to close it off than with Rei. It really made excellent use of the OVA format to surpass itself, in terms of comedy and silliness in regards to episodes 1 and 5, and in terms of solid scriptwriting for episodes 2, 3 and 4. I’m really going to miss this series.

Anyway, I’m not going to write a review for this OVA, because I know from experience that I’m terrible at those kinds of reviews, especially if I don’t marathon them. What I do want to say though, is that everyone who finished the TV-series should really also give the OVA a chance. It’s one of the very few cases in which the OVA is as good as the series it’s based on.

Anyway, this episode closes off Higurashi with another silly chapter, in which Rena swallows a “Magatama” which makes her fall in love with whoever holds an identical “Magatama” in a different colour, which shows Rena spooning up to Tomitake, Takano, Oshii and eventually Keiichi through a hilarious episode. I liked it better than the first episode of Higurashi Rei, because even though it was very silly, it also showed a new side of Rena: the side of her that wants to be close to others, and so is very easy to adapt her hobbies to others.

This also leads to an awesome Mah-Jong match, and at that point you could really see that it was a wise decision to put the director of Shion no Ou on the director’s position, rather than Chiaki Kon. The Mah-jong match in this episode which probably only took up 5 minutes was more exciting and creative than anything I’ve seen in Saki for the past half five months. It really reminded me that there can be game-based series that don’t have to rely on god-mode powers and Deus ex Machina.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 June 2009 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei


Pure awesomeness. I really have to say, that this OVA couldn’t have been done better. These past three episodes were right up there with the most memorable moments from the Higurashi series. I’d definitely rank this among the best OVAs I have ever seen, along with Rurouni Kenshin Tsuioku-hen and Hunter X Hunter’s OVA. All of them were just incredible: intelligent, inspired and focused.

Most of this episode was just lots of dialogue, but that’s exactly what I liked about it. Rika, who was tortured with the choice whether or not to kill her mother, and abandon the world in which nobody was plagued by sin. This exactly showed the irony of good endings: sure, you may have everything happening perfectly; you may have nobody suffering from the past, and deeply haunted by some of the wrong decisions they made, and that were made for them. But does that make them better persons?

It may all have just been a dream by Hanyuu, but who cares? Thinking back it made sense: how else would Hanyuu have known about the fate of everyone who wasn’t there? The way Rika let herself go and get caught up in the accident really showed her how she has unconsciously taken her own death and rebirth for granted, and how she began to forget how important her mother was.

If I had to mention a down-side, then it was the continuity error of Keiichi’s sin. In the original series, Keiichi’s sin was left out, and I had to read about it in the Higurashi TIPS, about how he ran around with the plastic gun. Those who haven’t read the TIPS will probably feel left out a bit, because that event was crucial to why this episode was so incredibly powerful. It’s still a shame that we never got to see that scene animated, by the way. It would have been damn intense.

In any case, Umineko no Naku Koro ni is about to begin now, and even though I’ve heard that it’s going to be completely different from Higurashi, I’m really looking forward to it, because 07th Expansion has shown himself to be an incredible writer. My only concern is going to be Chiaki Kon; I’m not sure whether she is the right person for this series. Especially considering how she’s also currently working on Hanasakeru Seishounen, and considering the mess that that turned into. On the other hand, Toshifumi Kawase is returning for the series composition. I absolutely love what this guy has been doing for the past few years (he was the one who directed the Higurashi Rei OVA), so perhaps he was the biggest reason why Higurashi was the only thing that didn’t disappoint out of Chiaki Kon’s work.

Rating: *** (Awesome)
Amazing conclusion to an already amazing OVA.

Posted 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.

Posted on 27 March 2009 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei



Short Synopsis: Rika dies again…
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Now THIS is more like it! This episode forms such an incredible contrast to that very silly first episode. This was exactly that paranoid atmosphere that that first series was so incredibly good at. Ah, the idea has so much potential, I’m really glad that it got the chance to be animated into an OVA.

So, what basically happens: Rika gets into an accident, and dies, reincarnating herself again into a different dimension. This dimension lacks Irie, Takano and Keiichi, leaving her as just about the only main actor left. There is no Oyashiro-Sama, no string of deaths or the plan to kill Rina, no Hanyuu, even. Instead, many characters once dead are now alive, Satoko hates Rika now because the two of them grew up much less together and the construction of the dam hasn’t been stopped. Oh, the potential!

I absolutely loved this episode, especially considering how that pool episode pretty much made me lose my faith in this OVA. Still, in the end it proved to be just another light-hearted intro before the real meat of the story begins. I really liked how we, along with Rika, were basically thrown into the complete dark of what was going on. I’m especially looking forward to Rika, meeting her mother again. I’m not sure whether she actually realized that her parents are still alive (she probably had enough on her mind to care about the parents she hardly even knew). Suddenly, I’m a whole lot more positive to seeing Shion no Ou’s director taking charge of this. :)

Posted on 27 February 2009 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei



Short Synopsis: Keiichi and the others go to the pool
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (There are going to be five episodes of this!?)
Uh… yeah. Here I was expecting Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei to deliver some more background information about the series, flesh some more characters out and all… yeah.

In the end, this turns out to be more Arusu The Adventure: random stories involving the lead characters. This one had everyone and his dog chase after Keiichi’s swimming trunks because it was supposedly cursed. In the end, the only clue that we have that it was indeed cursed was the word of the one who sold it to him.

In any case, the episode was as hilarious as it was disturbing (try to imagine Tomitake and Oshii in the pool….), and the thing turned into a huge self-parody. Interestingly, the original director didn’t return to the director seat, but instead the one who did the series composition created this… thing. And to think that there are four more episodes left!

On a completely different note, though: that OP rocked. It doesn’t quite beat the original OP of the first season, but I’m glad to see that it’s still experimenting with different exotic instruments and sounds. It works really well in this case.

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