Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni

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Translated as 'When the Cicadas Cry', Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a murder mystery based on a sound novel series, like a visual novel except it focuses on music and sound effects to tell the story instead of graphics. The anime repeats its timeline approximately every four to six episodes, although the longest arc has spanned eleven episodes. Each arc contains details which explain previous arcs, but still results in a different ending. The original PC games have both question and answer arcs. The anime does not have such specific correlations between arcs. It was made into two seasons, the first being "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni" and the second being "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai". An OVA, titled "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei" is scheduled to be released in December of 2008. The basic story revolves around a group of friends, five native girls and one boy who has just moved to the area, as they try to solve the mysterious murders that happen every year in the town.



Keiichi Maebara is typically the main character. A young man who moves to the mysterious town of Hinamizawa, he and his new friends in the school games club get caught up in the bizarre events of the town's past.
Rena Ryugu is the only girl in the town Keiichi's age. She is obsessed with cute things, but has a darker side with secrets of her own.
Mion Sonozaki is the daughter of one of the three main houses of the town. Her family hides many secrets and their adherence to tradition causes many people pain.
Shion Sonozaki, Mion's twin sister, was sent to live in the city neighbouring Hinamizawa, Okinomiya. She falls in love with Satoko's older brother, Satoshi.
Rika Furude is a daughter of another of the three main houses as well as the daughter of the shrine keeper. She is able to remember all of the arcs, "worlds" as she and Hanyu like to refer to them as, making her a key element in the time loop.
Furude Hanyu is a spirit following Rika through the different worlds, who is claiming to be Oyashiro-sama. She is responsible for the time loop, and as the series moves on, her strength weakens and the length of time in the worlds decreases.
Satoko Hojo was orphaned after her parents were killed in one of the many strange events that have occurred in the town.
Satoshi Hojo, Satoko's older brother, disappeared a year before Keiichi's arrival. His whereabouts remain unknown until the anime version of Matsuribayashi-hen. It is presumed that he killed his aunt, who was abusive towards Satoko.
Miyo Takano is a nurse at the local clinic. She researches the Hinamizawa Syndrome to finish her grandfather's own research, and she will stop literally at nothing to achieve this goal. She is the leader of the Yamainu, and the main antagonist of the story.
Jiro Tomitake is an amateur photographer who visits Hinamizawa 2-3 times a year, usually for the Watanagashi Festival.
Kyosuke Irie is a doctor at the local clinic. He is forced to follow along with Miyo's "research", but he does have motives of his own to figure out the mysteries of the Syndrome.
Kuraudo Oishi is the policeman of the town. His drive to solve the mysteries of the town creates a large rift between the friends. His intentions are not always clear.
Mamoru Akasaka, in Himatsubushi-hen, is a policeman from Tokyo investigating the abduction of the dam construction manager's grandson.
Teppei Hojo is Satoko's abusive uncle. He makes appearances in Tatarigoroshi-hen, Tsumihoroboshi-hen, and Minagoroshi-hen.
Ritsuko "Rina" Mamiya is Teppei's partner. In Tsumihoroboshi-hen, she and Teppei con Rena's father into giving them money and expensive items.

Plot Overview

In the small, isolated village of Hinamizawa, a group of friends play happily. Everything seems peaceful, normal. But come the Watanagashi Festival, things take a turn for the psychotic, bloody, and violent. The group of friends who once played happily are stuck in a time loop of tragedy. Will they get out?

Question Arcs

Onikakushi-hen (Demon Stealing Chapter)
Keiichi Maebara arrives in the small village of Hinamizawa, and quickly becomes friends with Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Hojo, Rika Furude, and Rena Ryugu. After a two-day trip to his hometown, it's time for the Watanagashi Festival. Then he learns the bloddy past of Hinamizawa. Every year one person from the town dies and another is "onikakushi'd" (stolen away by demons). Keiichi tries to unravel the mystery of his new home. A police officer named Kuraudo Oishi seems to think that Keiichi's friends have some knowledge about the murders and tells Keiichi about a boy named Satoshi Hojo who disappeared a year before he moved into the village. Keiichi begins to question his friends' loyalty as well as fear for his own life. His paranoia escalates until he beats Mion and Rena to death in his home, thinking they were out to kill him by injecting him with a mysterious syringe. He then kills himself, leaving behind a note for someone to fulfill his "final" wish--find out the truth about what happened.
Anime episode numbers: 1-4

Watanagashi-hen (Cotton Drifting Chapter)
This arc starts out peacefully, but when Keiichi gives a prize to Rena, Mion realises her romantic feelings for Keiichi. Mion quickly becomes jealous of Rena. Sonozaki Shion makes her first appearance in this chapter, and spends a lot of time with "Kei-chan", deepening Mion's jealously. The jealousy soon turns Mion against her friends and family, leading her to kill them all, except for Keiichi and Rena. Later on while Keiichi is in the hospital, he hallucinates that Mion is trying to kill him again, and he dies of a heart attack.
Anime episode numbers: 5-8

Tatarigoroshi-hen (Curse Killing Chapter)
Satoko's uncle, Teppei, returns to Hinamizawa only to abuse Satoko and cause her to skip school. Her friends become worried especially Keiichi who reminds Satoko an awful lot about Satoshi. Keiichi soon cannot stand the torment Satoko is going through and murders her uncle and buries him. Soon after Keiichi believes that Satoko's uncle is gone for good. But when he tries to dig up the body later, he finds nothing. He goes to the Hojo house to investigate and kill Teppei for real this time, but finds only Satoko in a steaming-hot bathtub counting to 10,000 and saying that it was a punishment from her uncle. Soon after, Kyosuke Irie seems to have suicided, and Rika was found by the shrine donation box, murdered. Satoko eventually begins to think that Keiichi is being possessed by 'Oyashiro-sama' and pushes him off a bridge. That night, carbon monoxide apparently erupted from the village's swamp, killing all of the residents. Keiichi, somehow surviving the fall, becomes the only survivor of the Great Hinamizawa Gas Disaster. A couple months later, however, he dies of a high fever.
Anime episode numbers: 6-13

Himatsubushi-hen (Time Wasting Chapter)
This entire chapter takes place five years in the past. Mamoru Akasaka arrives at Hinamizawa to investigate the kidnapping of the dam construction manager's grandson. He meets Rika Furude, who cryptically warns him of his wife's death. A couple years after the main story takes place, Mamoru finds out about Rika's death, and feels extreme regret for not being able to save her.
Anime episode numbers: 14-15

Answer Arcs

Meakashi-hen (Eye Opening Chapter)
The solution to the Watanagashi arc. Shion pays a visit to Hinamizawa, much to her strict grandmother's disapproval. Under the guise of Mion, she meets Satoshi Hojo, and falls in love with him. After Satoshi's aunt is found murdered, she makes up an alibi for him. Once her grandmother finds out, Shion is taken to the torture chamber used by the Sonozakis and has three of her fingernails removed. She does this on the condition that Satoshi's sins will be forgiven. Satoshi ends up going missing, and Shion kills those she deems responsible for his "death". Her grandmother, the village head, Rika, Satoko, and Mion all are murdered by Shion in horrible ways. After everything, she sits in her apartment and hears Mion's voice telling her to die (obviously, this is a hallucination). Shion sneaks out the window of the eighth-floor apartment (due to her hallucination that Mion is banging on the door), and stabs Keiichi. After that, she tries to sneak back into the apartment, but her shirt catches on a corner and she falls to her death. As she's falling, she looks up at the moon and sees Satoshi's face. Shion apologises, saying, "Next time I won't mess up."
Anime episode numbers: 16-21

Tsumihoroboshi-hen (Sin Repenting Chapter)
The solution to Onikakushi-hen. Rena finds out her father is being conned by Teppei and Ritsuko, and kills the two in order to stop it. Together, the group of friends we know so well bury the dismembered corpses. Later on, Miyo gives Rena some of her research notebooks. Rena reads through them, and becomes obsessed with the woman's theory that the parasite causing the Hinamizawa Syndrome was brought to the village by aliens. She becomes distrustful of her friends, like Keiichi had is Onikakushi, and hides in an abandoned van in the junkyard. Keiichi tries to find her, and the two discuss many things. Rena tells him about the aliens, and then reveals Keiichi's secret past of shooting little girls with rubber bullets. She tells him that he is not her friend since he keeps secrets, like Keiichi had done to Mion in Onikakushi-hen. The next day Keiichi decides to tell his other friends about his crime. His strong emotions due to their forgiveness allows him to remember his actions in Onikakushi-hen, something no one has done before. Through this flashback, it is revealed that the syringe turned on Keiichi in the first arc was actually a marker. Mion and Rena were not hostile at all, he was just hallucinating. That night, Rena sets out to attack the school to warn the village of the impending gas disaster. She puts a bomb inside the school, and takes everyone hostage. Keiichi disarms the bomb and confronts Rena on the roof. She apologises for her actions, not wanting to believe she could ever do that to her friends. Rena is apprehended, and everything seems finally alright until a gas erupts, like in Tatarigoroshi-hen. Keiichi, again, is the sole survivor.
Anime episode numbers: 22-26

See also

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai


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