When They Cry: Outbreak is finally out! Now for a little emotional retrospect:
I haven’t really told anyone this, but the franchise of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When The Cicadas Cry), including its company 07th Expansion, really mean a lot to me. Long story short, it opened doors before me which I never thought existed- a world where recent anime isn’t as hopeless as the cliché fan service-filled shows they appear to be- that they can still be a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience able to pique human emotions to uncharted territories. You see, I only got engrossed in Japanese anime around late grade school up until high school. Come college, I deemed myself ‘graduated’ from such endeavors because I’ve shifted to US series like House M.D., Dexter, Supernatural, HIMYM, BBT, Scrubs, among many others.
Considering the 90′s and early 2000′s anime as irreplaceable icons (AXN anime as known with my peers), I was confident that the current anime of the time, with the famous ones having sub-par stories compensated by female characters with sexy curves and voluptuous frontals, couldn’t match up to these classics because their main objective has been degraded to making money off reclusive perverts. Of course I was wrong. I only realized that when a friend got back from Japan and gave me Nendoroid Mini figurines of Higurashi’s Shion and Rena. Curious to know who they were, I looked them up online and the story instantly captivated me:
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni takes place during June 1983, at a fictional rural village called Hinamizawa. Keiichi Maebara, moves to Hinamizawa and befriends his new classmates Rena, Mion, Rika, and Satoko. Hinamizawa appears to be a normal, peaceful, rural village, however, the tranquility abruptly ends after the annual Watanagashi Festival, a celebration to commemorate and give thanks to the local god, Oyashiro. Keiichi learns that every year for the past four years, one person has always been murdered and another gone missing. In each story arc, he or one of his friends become paranoid, and a crime is committed. While it seems impossible to tell their delusions apart from the mystery of Hinamizawa, slowly the truth is revealed.
“I really need to know how this show turns out.” was what I was feeling back then. And I’m glad I did watch it because the rest was history- I looked for 07th Expansion’s other works and found out about Umineko, then looked for similar shows, which led me to Type-Moon- Tsukihime, Kara no Kyoukai, Fate/Stay Night, Kure-nai, Shana, NHK, etc. It was pretty much an avalanche on fire. I was surprised to know there were so many awesome underground anime out there. It then led me to making this blog. I just couldn’t hold in the fun experience alone so I needed to have an outlet. I wanted to share it with everybody looking for a good watch.
Next thing I know, after college graduation, I was back on the path of watching anime again. And no, I don’t regret a thing. If given a chance to reclaim the time lost in watching, I’d say I’d watch them over again. :)
Anyway, enough reminiscing. I have yet to discuss this new movie-length OVA of Higurashi that just came out!
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak is adapted from creator Ryukishi07′s short story ‘Higurashi Outbreak.‘ Although the movie is considered a spin-off not having anything to do with the original story, you can expect the all too familiar elements of Higurashi to return- succumbing to violence for survival, insanity and paranoia, misunderstandings and above everything, love and friendship.
The movie starts of with Hinamizawa being quarantined by the Japanese government, along with other nearby villages, due to a deadly foreign virus that has supposedly spread in the area. Mion investigates the situation and finds anomalies among the government’s public actions, the radio conversations of the soldiers she intercepted, and the villagers’ plights from legends past.
Keeping you from being spoiled, I won’t dwell further in the story and just post these photos instead:
What piqued my interest in the movie most is the nature of the so-called “Class-C virus.” Said to have infected humans since ancient times, it alters the brain functions of the host and it induces amicable behavior towards hosts of the same virus, and hostile behavior towards hosts of different Class-C virus variants.
“Oddly enough, their variation coincides with that of national boundaries and religious groups. In other words, the differences between each country’s culture and disposition are all derived from the hidden guidance of these viruses.” I was like ‘whoa!‘ when I saw this and pondered for a moment. The explanation is brilliant.
So, is this Class-C virus real or not? And how is it related with the Hinamizawa Syndrome?
This new plot let’s us see Higurashi in a brand new light. New, yet equally interesting as the original story. Another thing I noticed is how Rika and Hanyu conversed- stiff-serious as if they’re acquaintances who just met. Not that I wouldn’t mind a cold and serious Hanyu, though. She calls her reincarnation ‘Child of Man.‘
With that, I end this post with the movie’s cliffhanger ending, indicating the beginning of the Hinamizawa Disaster on a global scale!
No news yet for part 2, but I hope they make one. A new series would be awesome, too. Anyway, I’ll keep you guys posted! If you haven’t watched Higurashi no Naku Koro ni / When They Cry yet, do put in on your list!