For Higurashi Month here at JanaiBlog, I have been charged with delving into the manga version of this masterpiece. So, let’s dive in, shall we?
The story of Higurashi takes place in a small village called Hinamizawa and centers around Keiichi Maebara, a boy who just moved there with his parents. He befriends a group of girls at school, and as the days wane on he finds himself fitting in and finding happiness. However, this village has a traditional festival every year called the Watanagashi Festival, to celebrate Oyashiro-sama, a god that the villagers worship. Keiichi finds out about a strange “curse” where every year, during the festival, one person disappears and another turns up dead. He normally wouldn’t think much of it, but the odd behavior of his friends and their refusal to answer his questions make him more and more suspicious and determined to find out the truth behind the curse of Oyashiro-sama.
The first thing you will notice about this manga is that while the art may be cute and almost reminiscent of the shoujo style, the story is bloody and twisted, and that quickly changes your perspective. The story is dark, intense, and suspenseful, leaving you guessing about the truth up until the very last moment. However, the story is also filled with its silly moments and its own delightful brand of comedy, and it is mixed in with the darker parts of the story just right so that you can get a laugh and still feel the drama of the more serious scenes.
The characters are brilliant as well, as is their development. As we watch each of Keiichi’s friends start to act oddly, we see him slowly descent into a mixture of madness and paranoia that leaves you wondering if his suspicions are justified or if it’s really just all in his head. Regardless of what you think, I can assure you that the ending will surprise you.
Another great thing about this series is we also get a bit of back-story of the town, where the people of Hinamizawa tried to stop their town from being flooded out to make room for a dam. However, some people were content to take the money offered to them by the government and leave, and this divided the town. These events are also the center of some suspicious stories and clues Keiichi happens upon that will play an important part in the later arcs; so reading this first installment is not only enjoyable, it is highly recommended to get the most out of the rest of the story.
However, if you’re not happy with the way the story turns out (which I doubt would happen because the story is so good), do not have fear; each arc of Higurashi starts the story’s events over, taking the basic story of the dam building and Oyashiro-sama and twisting it in different ways to weave very different tales. If you’re left confused, you don’t have to worry about that either; Higurashi also has “answer arcs” that provide answers to many of the questions posed in each different story. This makes this manga series truly unique.
As the starting point of a series of chilling tales of a deeply woven and deadly conspiracy in a quiet and unassuming village, the Abducted by Demons Arc of Higurashi: When They Cry is an unforgettable ride that is both chilling and hilarious. It is NOT to be missed!
Higurashi: When They Cry manga is licensed by Yen Press
This is one fun and unforgettable ride!
Anyone who loves horror or is looking for something new to read should pick this up
Maiming and slaughtering never gets old!