After watching episode 1 of Higurashi New, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d stick with it. As I mentioned in my review, I wasn’t completely sold on the slice-of-life gags and the characters hadn’t really connected with me. But after watching episode 2, I’m really glad I gave the series another shot. The episode opens with a seemingly older Rika in a spiritual plane. A spirit tells her that she’s heading back to June 1983 to which Rika resolves she will survive just as she did before. With that very intriguing opening in our minds, the rest of the episode follows the gang in the lead up to and during the village’s festival.
As mentioned in the episode one review, I haven’t had experience with the Higurashi games nor the original anime. So my review will be just focused on what happens in each episode with no comparisons.
What I really loved about this episode was that it really honed in on something sinister simmering under the surface (look at that alliteration). As I was watching the episode, I was just waiting for some hint at what’s going to happen. Even in some seemingly harmless scenes such as Keiichi and Rena getting the Kenta-kun mascot statue out of the trash had a double meaning. I can’t imagine them wrapping it up like how one would dispose of a dead body won’t come back in future episodes. This was even more hammered in by the closing credits. As the music plays, images of the gang having fun times together fades into shots of each girl’s home life, which grow increasingly distressing.
On to the animation, the episode gave me mixed feelings. In last week’s review I pointed out the shot of Keiichi’s truncated legs when he woke up in the morning. They pretty much reused the exact same animation this episode. However, towards the end of the episode Rika performs a ceremonial dance which is so smooth and great to watch. Unfortunately, for the life of me I couldn’t get a good screenshot of it. Hopefully, as the series progresses we’ll see more scenes like Rika’s.
Overall, Higurashi New is a series I’m growing increasingly excited by. So far, it’s set up a very intriguing story, and to be honest the little gag segments are growing on me. Especially now that I know they’re all pieces of a much larger puzzle. I am hoping that the animation gets a bit better as the series continues on. For now, I have quite a few theories spinning around in my head I can’t wait to see if they prove right.
Extra Note that I put in 5 mins before the review is scheduled to post: I’ve changed the review’s title from ‘Higurashi When They Cry – New’ to Higurashi When They Cry – Gou, as apparently ‘Gou’ is the intended title for the series. Funimation has revealed they purposefully marketed the title as Higurashi When They Cry: New as the creators wanted this to be revealed in episode 2. The ‘Gou’ (業) is a reference to fate or actions in one’s past life influencing their fate. This has led many viewers speculating that the series is supposed to be a sequel to the original Higurashi (2006) rather than a remake. Personally, I think I’ll keep watching this one and see how it goes.
What did you think of the second episode of Higurashi: When They Cry – New? Let me know in the comments (also no spoilers for the VN and old anime please)!