What the hell is going to happen next?... That's the one thought that's been spinning aimlessly in our drunken heads throughout the new year's anime session, while watching the second season of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Despite even my pedo comrade's "Improved Prediction" talent when it comes to anime stories, Higurashi 2 managed to keep us intrigued more than any other sequel up to this day, I'd say - which alone is quite a feat! Add to that an extended
cast of derranged characters (including that devilish loli, Hanyuu
), some nicer graphics (or at least nicer encoding), and best of all an increased focus placed on Rika
- and you get one hell of a show!
But was it better than the first part? Well... basically, it all comes down to what you would rather see: more psychotic episodes and bloody deaths like in the first part, or a better developed storyline in the sequel, to give all that violence an unexpected purpose.
I won't deprive you of the pleasure of discovering that purpose for yourself, if you haven't seen Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai yet. But if that's the case, do yourself a favour and watch it as soon as
possible! With that said, consider yourself warned, and treat the rest of this post as potentially spoilerific.
Right then, from the very first episode, it's already apparent that things are rather different in the sequel. Remember that brutal intro sequence of the first Higurashi (as if anyone could ever forget such a creepy thing)? Well, the sequel is nothing like that; at least not in the first episode. It all begins peacefully, some thirty years later, with just a handful of characters
recollecting the past tragedy from the Hinamizawa village. And just like that, the episode ends, time rolls back (*cough*
sort of...), and the first actual story-arc begins.
Welcome back to
It's time then to point out the next difference between the two seasons. Whereas the first one was made up of several arcs in which people had a tendency to go into Shion-mode or die horrible deaths (or both), Higurashi 2 only comprises three arcs: a short one in the beginning, and two very long ones after that. This way, there's a lot more room for a deep story to develop - not to mention more of Rika's omega-kawaii "ni-pa!"
emotes. Hell, we counted at least five of those in a certain episode!
Which brings me to the next order of business: Rika. Now... I really don't want to go into any details surrounding her, but like I said earlier, we get to see a lot
of Rika in the second season - and that's something we here at Animekon approve of, vigurously.
Of course, there are some new characters joining in on the fun, and the old ones are also getting deeper storylines, with completely unexpected twists. Among others, we finally find out what really happened to Satoko's
older brother, and in fact what Oyashiro's curse is all about.
One thing we do miss in the sequel, however, is the violence. The sheer non-stop madness of the first Higurashi is a huge part of the reason we loved it so much, and to see most of that gone was a bit of a disappointment, to be honest. That's not to say Higurashi 2 is a shiny-happy anime (although it does have its funny moments), but neither is it so brutal and shocking anymore.
Most of the raw action that did remain is concentrated towards the very end - an explosive one at that. And even though it needed more buckets of blood, we still think it was a pretty cool way to finish the season. Plus, we're not left with that "WTF?!" feeling anymore, like after the first part.
Finally, I can't end this article without mentioning a key piece of information that influenced our enjoyment: the news about a sequel. Back when we saw the first Higurashi, we had no idea that a second season was coming - which turned out to be a great thing. On the contrary, by the time Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai was fully fansubbed, we already knew about the third season
, thus making the end predictably less climactic. It does offer some
closure, but it's hardly enough to keep us from trembling with anticipation at the thought of Higurashi 3.
So now that the first two seasons are behind us, that same haunting question remains: what the hell is going to happen next?... At this point, there's only one thing we know for sure: it's gonna be an excruciating wait.