Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Higurashi: When They Cry (Abducted by Demons Arc Part 1) Vol. 1 by Ryukishi07 and Suzuragi Karin

First things first: Watch this video. All of it. It'll give you a good idea of what you are in store for with this anime and manga. Just don't watch it if you are eating anything.

October is a great time for reading scary stuff. Since this is a blog dedicated to things like anime, manga, and East Asian movies, I figured that a review of the first volume of the manga edition of Higurashi would be an excellent choice. If nothing else, maybe digesting the manga would give me a chance to see if the story makes any more sense this time around.

This series is fairly obscure among casual anime fans, but if you are a hardcore fan and love your anime with a side of macabre then the anime is certainly mandatory viewing. Perfect for Halloween, really. However, the anime wasn't the first incarnation of this series. Neither was the manga. The manga came out in 2005 while the anime made its debut in 2006, but what came first was a series of visual novels that began in 2002. The man behind those visual novels was none other than Ryukishi07. As far as the writing is concerned, anyway.

The anime series is pretty hard to find these days and that's one of the reasons I still have my bootleg copy. The manga issues are available on Kindle, though. That's where I bought my copy.

There's a lot I'd like to say about the anime because it was probably the first really disturbing anime I ever saw (I mean, you've seen the above video, right?), but I think I already discussed the anime at least a little bit at one point.

For now, I want to focus on the first volume of the manga. The first volume introduces us to the town of Hinamizawa and Oyashiro-sama's curse. Oyashiro-sama is supposedly a vengeful god that will tear you a new asshole if you even think bad things about Hinamizawa and you don't want to mess with him. Naturally, Maebara Keiichi is curious about the goings-on in Hinamizawa and the stories surrounding Oyashiro-sama's curse.

Keiichi has just moved into the peaceful town of Hinamizawa and has discovered a nice group of friends. Among them happens to be Ryugu Rena, Sonozaki Mion, Hojo Satoko, and Furude Rika. He plays games with them after school and largely leads a carefree and fun life. 

Thing's don't stay that way, though. After getting a visit from a photographer who is still hoping for that one big break, Keiichi learns about just how macabre the town of Hinamizawa really is. Once upon a time there was a murder in Hinamizawa. Perhaps even several. Keiichi questions his friends about it, but they become strangely tight-lipped and creepy. Especially Rena and Mion. 

Keiichi tries to dig deeper, discovering that it all seems to go back to Oyashiro-sama's curse, but are his newfound friends really apart of that somehow? They certainly don't seem to approve of him talking to the one to the cops about it. 

This particular arc is concluded in the next volume, but there are quite a few other arcs that describe how events might have happened differently. Definitely a bizarre style of storytelling, but certainly interesting because each subsequent alternate telling builds on the previous one. 

The artwork isn't too shabby and goes from cutesy to creepy fairly quick much like the anime. There's not a lot of blood in this volume, but we'll see how much gets brought in the next volume. 

I do know that the anime legitimately scared the shit out of me when I first saw it. That scene above still makes me cringe. I hope the manga is equally impressive. 

So far so good. 

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