Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou

Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou

Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou anime series cover art
Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou

Series Overview

Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou / ひぐらしのなく頃に業) is an anime series that falls under the tags horror, thriller, mystery, psychological, supernatural, and dementia. However, I would argue that dementia is the only tag that really applies.

Everything about this series is confusing, from the plot to what the anime is even supposed to be in the first place. When it began airing, it was advertised as a remake of the original Higurashi series. However, a few episodes in, this was revealed to not actually be the case.

It’s also not a sequel to the original series. Instead, Higurashi – Gou is more of an alternate version of the series that does its own thing. And, rather than being newcomer friendly as initially advertised, it includes important scenes from the original series in a different order that spoils the original.

So, if you’re new to Higurashi (like me), then you may not want to start with Higurashi – Gou. Unless (also like me), you don’t really care that watching Higurashi – Gou first is going to spoil the original series.

Anyway, if you don’t know, the basic plot of Higurashi – Gou is that there’s a small Japanese town in the mountains and every year two people go missing. One person is eventually found dead, and the other is never seen again.

I guess the story is kind of about solving the mystery of what happens to these people. But at the same time, it’s not at all. It’s more like there’s “something” happening in the town that leads to these events every year and sometimes different people try to stop whatever that “something” is without knowing what it is.

Like I said at the start, this series really doesn’t make sense. I don’t even understand what the story it’s trying to tell is.

Main Characters

Of the six main characters of the series, Keiichi Maebara is the only boy. He’s the new transfer student who effectively stands in for the viewer because he’s the only outsider in the group. Everyone else grew up in Hinamizawa and knows about its dark history.

Rika Furude is one of the two youngest members of the group along with her best friend Satoko. Generally, Rika is a fairly quiet girl who gets good grades and always says the proper things. She’s also the shrine maiden for the local deity Oyashiro-sama.

Rena Ryuuguu is the same age as Keiichi and has a crush on him. That and the fact that she’s obsessed with KFC Colonel statues are basically her defining character traits. She can get a bit extreme when either of those things are involved.

Rena Ryuuguu from the anime series Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou
Rena Ryuuguu

Satoko Houjou is Rika’s best friend and at some point in the series, we learn that the two of them actually live together. I don’t remember if Rika’s family situation was explained much, but Satoko doesn’t come from the best household. She also loves playing pranks on people — particularly Keiichi.

Shion Sonozaki is the oldest girl in what I’ll call the “core group” that the previous characters are all a part of. She’s the leader of their after school club, which is all about playing games together. She always comes up with punishments for the game losers.

Finally, we have Mion Sonozaki, Shion’s twin sister. Mion makes absolutely no sense to me. Despite being Shion’s twin, Mion doesn’t attend school, and nobody questions it. She also carries around a handgun (she’s a minor), and nobody questions that either. I’m still not sure if she’s real.

Higurashi – Gou Doesn’t Make Sense

If you don’t want to be spoiled, skip to the conclusion of this review. Though, to be fair, the series makes so little sense that I’m not really sure being spoiled is possible (to an extent). But, what I say here may spoil the original Higurashi in a big way.

The part of the series that makes the least sense to me, and is mostly why I didn’t like Higurashi – Gou, is the mystery surrounding Hinamizawa. Originally, we were told that the murders and missing people had to do with the curse of Oyashiro-sama.

That was a fine explanation that lent itself to the supernatural horror aspects of the series. However, the story surrounding the murders and disappearances changed every few episodes. And there didn’t seem to be any real explanation for this.

Shion Sonozaki from the anime series Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou
Shion Sonozaki

The curse of Oyashiro-sama transitioned into not actually being a curse at all. Instead, it was people holding grudges about a dam project from decades earlier. So that removed the supernatural aspect of the mystery and made it a normal murder mystery.

But, then Oyashiro-sama came back into the picture as we learned that people could be possessed by her. The possessed would kill someone and then disappear forever. However, it didn’t stop there.

Eventually, the story became that there’s actually no curse, but instead a virus that causes people to go crazy. And it was later added that the military was involved in the virus. Then, on top of that, multiple other military groups began fighting a war over possession of the virus.

Oh, and there are also actual deities that let people loop through time for their own personal gain. This seems to have nothing to do with the curse, murders, virus, etc. I guess the author just wanted to throw time travel into the mix.

Conclusion

Overall, I’d say that Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou is a 5/10. I would give it a lower score, but for now I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. There’s a sequel season coming at some point, so maybe that will explain everything nicely. I doubt it, but maybe.

I do think there are some parts that are very good, though. Nothing to do with the story or writing. But the character designs were good (done by the same character designer as Monogatari and The World God Only Knows). And the OP song is a bop.

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