Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni (ひぐらしのなく頃に), also referred to as “When They Cry”, started off as a horror-themed mystery doujin visual novel series that debuted in the summer of 2002. The saga is most famously known for its anime adaptation. These were written and produced by Ryukishi07, who is the lead member of 07th Expansion. The series follows a group of young friends trying to solve the mysterious happenings in the small town of Hinamizawa during the summer of 1983. If you thought your coming-of-age summer experiences with your friends were risky or scary, try to stomach watching these characters overcome torture, psychosis, and ancient demon curses.
What Is Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni About?
The series focuses on a group of students, switching narrators in every new arc, while they try to navigate the bizarre occurrences that start around the time of the annual town festival.
The arcs in “When They Cry” are as follows:
- Onikakushi-hen – “Spirited Away By The Demon”
- Watanagashi-hen – “Cotton Drifting”
- Tatarigoroshi-hen – “Curse Killing”
- Himatsubushi-hen – “Time Wasting”
- Meakashi-hen – “Eye-Opening”
- Tsumihoroboshi-hen – “Atonement”
In the first arc, we follow Keiichi Maebara who has recently relocated with his family to the rural village. Despite being the “new kid”, he enjoys the antics shared by his new friends Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Houjou, and Rika Furude.
During preparation for the festivities, we learn about the lore surrounding the town legends.
In the past few years, the event has brought both the death and disappearance of several townspeople. These misfortunes have all been linked to the village’s god, Oyashiro. After Keiichi inquires about the incidents, his friend group remains quiet about the dark mysteries surrounding their hometown. As time passes, more and more horrifying situations occur, creating more questions without providing any answers.
What’s The Difference Between Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni and Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai?
Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai (ひぐらしのなく頃に解) is the second season and continuation of the Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni series. The seven main characters who we follow in almost every arc of the first When They Cry season rejoin us, along with a goddess named Hanyū. The first season of Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni is where all the questions are established, whereas in Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai, this season focuses more on getting the answers.
In Kai, Rika Furude is determined to end the seemingly never-ending cycle of whatever is cursing the town of Hinamizawa and the lives of her close group of friends. Instead of this season being separated into arcs, this anime runs in a consistent stream of continuity.
How Many Ways Can I Learn About The Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Universe?
The When They Cry series has been distributed to the world through multiple forms of media. It was originally created as a visual novel that was first put out on PC. The first arc, Onikakushi-hen, made its debut on August 10, 2002. The final game, which is the 8th in the installment, Matsuribayashi-hen, came out in 2006 on August 13th. The eight games can be separated evenly. The first four are under the titles Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni and then the last four are listed under the title Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai.
The game was then adapted into two seasons of anime. The Higurashi anime was animated by Studio Deen, and the first season premiered in Spring 2006. The second premiered in the Summer of 2007.
The visual novel was also adapted into a manga series. The serialization was released with 14 story arcs that first began being published in Spring 2005. The novels are written by Ryukishi07 and the series has multiple illustrators that were responsible for one or more story arc each.
Where Can I Watch the Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Anime?
If you want to watch the first season of the Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni anime in all it’s glory with subtitles, you can watch the entire first season on Hulu. It’s the best place to watch all the iconic, gut-wrenching torture scenes. (I haven’t look at fingernails the same way since.)
If manga is more your style, Yen Press has published and distributed all the volumes of the series for you to read. Their website provides links on where you can buy the physical copy of the graphic novels in stores.