Higurashi no Naku Koro ni takes place during June 1983, at a fictional rural village called Hinamizawa, which has a population of approximately 2000. The main character, Keiichi Maebara, moves to Hinamizawa and befriends his new classmates Rena Ryugu, Mion Sonozaki, Rika Furude, and Satoko Hojo. Keiichi joins their after-school club activities, which consist mostly of card and board games (and punishment games for the loser, usually him.) Hinamizawa appears to be a normal, peaceful, rural village to Keiichi. However, the tranquility abruptly ends after the annual Watanagashi Festival, a celebration to commemorate and give thanks to the local god, Oyashiro-sama. Keiichi learns that every year for the past four years, one person has been murdered and another has gone missing on the day of the Watanagashi Festival. Keiichi himself soon becomes drawn into the strange events surrounding the Watanagashi Festival and Oyashiro-sama. In each story arc, he or one of his friends become paranoid, and a crime is committed. Usually, the crime involves the murder of one of their own friends. While it seems impossible to tell their delusions apart from the mystery of Hinamizawa, slowly the truth is revealed.
Like many people, I got to know this series through the anime, then discovered there was a game being localized by MangaGamer and so I discovered visual novels, my favorite game genre nowadays.
Higurashi, then, was far more than just a series or a game to me, it set the standards by which I compared all visual novels to it. It’s tough experiencing a masterpiece as your first taste a genre, because you’ll find afterwards, they’ll be disappointing.
Higurashi was my religion for a while. I extolled how amazing it is, how good, the mystery’s, the suspense, the tenseness, the plot and characters becoming more involved with each installment. Mind you, Higurashi is still one of my favorite VN’s and it won’t be dethroned that easily. Might be because of nostalgia, or maybe, it’s just because it’s that good.
Mind you, that evaluation is mixed with said nostalgia. I can’t escape that, but even now whenever I think of Higurashi, I can remember scenes and how relieved I was when I finished and finally knew how that whole fuckery came to be, and if everyone was okay.
Higurashi was very well marketed and sold. For those that don’t know, because this is old, Higurashi is an horror and suspense VN but got sold to fans of galge/girl’s dating-sim. It was made so the first part was like a typical, normal game, with these cute girls, and then the twist happens and it mind-fucked everyone. In fact, the very art was done to emulate galge ones, so that when troll faces pop out, you know you’re in dip shit.
It was a stroke of genius for 07th Expansion, because it quickly became a cult hit which grew with each installment, until it finally received a manga and an anime. Prior to Higurashi, 07th Expansion was a small company doing card illustrations, and was as underground as a doujin company is.
This can be found everywhere, if you’d search, but I’ll tell how Higurashi happened. Call me a nerd, which I am, but I like knowing these things and telling them.
07th Expansion was back then a company made of 3-4 people, Ryuuk was the writer and artist, his brother was the programmer and his friend did the website. Said friend encouraged Ryuuk to turn Higurashi, which was a play Ryuuk had written before, into a game because he really liked it. So we can thank him for Higurashi and 07th Expansion existing as a game maker.
I’m sure you’ll find names and more details if you search for this story, because it’s been a long while since I’ve read it, and I know it because I’m particularly passionate about those that impress me.
This hasn’t been a review of the game, but it’s a bit of the journey I have with the game. There’s also not a lot of things I can say, considering how wildly known the anime is. I will say though that if you liked the anime, I implore you to play the games. I don’t care if you play using the new sprites, or Ryuuk’s (which I prefer), but you really must. The anime is a watered down version of the games, they also invented an explanation for the final that was ridiculous and wasn’t the real one. The games are worth it. The atmosphere and tenseness of scenes are through the roof, and I was floored by the mysteries and their conclusions.
This isn’t an horror game like Corpse Party, where there’s blood and graphics. Here it’s written and described, and enhanced by the OST and sound effects to make a deeply involving, absorbing game that will stick in your mind.
Safe to say, if you liked Umineko you’ll like Higurashi, but not if you were fonder of the trolls and fantasy side of things. Higurashi is not an epic tale of fantasy and magic. In Higurashi, it’s realistic and down to earth, with a dash of fantasy and absurd to enhance the mysteries and suspense.
This was a bit of a trip down memory lane, but I hope you enjoyed it as much as I liked!
Happy gaming everyone and keep on figuring out those mysteries ヽ(*⌒∇⌒*)ﾉ
Have you heard about this game before? Have you played it? If so, I’d love to know what you think of it!