Just keep in mind that while the Japanese voices in “When They Cry” is great, this has one of the worst English dubs I’ve ever heard.
For the uninitiated, “When They Cry” is based on an older interactive novel game, also named “Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni.” The plot is simple. Keiichi and his friends live in a rural town named Hinamizawa. Every year, the village has a festival known as the Watanagashi (Cotton drifting) festival. In the festival, villagers float cotton on a river to release the evil from their bodies.
However, this village has a dirty secret: for the last five years, someone has died after every Watanagashi festival. And this particular year is special, because in every short four- or five-episode part of the anime, the village has a string of genocidal murders.
In the beginning of the series, Keiichi kills Rena and Mion, and then kills himself by stabbing his throat with his fingernails. Don’t worry–we don’t actually get to see him kill himself. However, after each string of murders, the scenario replays again with the same characters, but a completely different plot.
This makes for some extremely brilliant twists in every rendition of the “When They Cry” story. For example, I didn’t even expect that Mion actually had a twin sister named Shion. All the main characters also have a dark personal past as well. For example, Rena went berzerk after she left Hinamizawa, and broke the windows of her school with a baseball bat. She transferred back to Hinamizawa, hoping that she would leave these accidents behind.
While volume one has the most depressing storyline of the series, the Onikakushi-hen chapter, it also starts anew with the Watanagushi chapter. We also get introduced to Shion, Mion’s twin sister. And ironically enough, she has a crush on Keiichi for all the wrong reasons, which have yet to be explained in later chapters.
I was afraid that this series would never see the light of day again, after Geneon shut down its American publishing branch. However, now that Funimation has picked up where the series left off at volume four, we can definitely look forward to seeing more chapters to the series. After all, there is nothing more fun than watching these characters die horrible, miserable deaths, only to live to die another day.
Oh don’t worry, there is a happy ending. But happiness is pretty far away in Hinamizawa, at least for now…
By the way, do not watch this series with the English dub. The voices are so horribly generic. And they also replaced the cool Japanese ending song with a god-awful American pop song. Blech.
Image courtesy of emmyriceball.wordpress.com