WARNING: END SPOILERS
Higurashi, the series as a whole, is an instant favorite. It’s going in the list, somewhere in the top 15-30, and I love it. That sid, I probably liked the first season a little bit more for reasons that I’ll get to eventually.
Higurashi is definitely a show that gets a lot of drive from it’s characters, but also one of the very few shows that actually sold me on it’s plot (omg). By far the most impressive element of Higurashi is the way facts were revealed. Every arc throughout both seasons ended in such a way that I genuinely thought I knew everything that was going on and then every next arc shed more light on things. The whole reason I don’t like mystery shows is that I hate not knowing things, but Higurashi managed to pull of situations where things were going on that I didn’t know about but still felt like a natral plot progression. This was especially helped by the element of Rika introduced in Kai where she was experiencing each world with the memories of the last. This tied everything together and made the whole plot coherent. And yet by far the best twist in the series was motherfucking Takano Miyo. When the whole brigade of hope was going on, it seemed like we’d finally solved the mystery – everyone’s pain was perpetuated by their misconceptions and lack of hope and maybe when everyone got their minds straight, things would work out, and then BLAM! Plot twist from hell, it was Miyo all along making this crazy shit happen! I was awestruck, and then truly it all made sense.
Besides that awesomeness in plot, Higurashi is one of the very few anime where almost every single character was memorable and great. The only person who I still hated by the end was Teppei and by god I hope he gets raped every minute of every day in prison. However everyone really came into their own in ways you would never expect. Mr. Delicious had a motive all along and then joining the good guys at the end was perfect. AKASAKA WAS A FUCKING NINJA. All of the big dudes in suit running around kicking ass were a lot of fun and occasionally pretty fucking hilarious. Onibaba even turned out to be respectable in the end! But the main characters are who really matter.
Characterization through madness is the best, period. This is a show that lets you see every side of each character. You see the extremeness of their emotion, the deepness of their love or sorrow, etc. The Shion arc was definitely the best example of this because seeing her driven to such ends really helped me appreciate how much she was in love, how desperate she was, and how mad she became. When push came to stab, it was pretty believable. Shion probably would have been my favorite character all aroundif she had more screentime, but her place in the saving Satoko arc was just perfect. Mion was also really great and, in a way, the ‘control’ of the group. She never actually went too overboard in any direction and seemed to be clear-headed and normal but with boatloads of personality. The group couldn’t have asked for a better leader.
Rena was really, truly something special, and the definite ‘mai waifu’ of the cast for me. On the inside she is a deep thinker. When she gets depressed, she gets really depressed, but she lets her friends in and is helped by them. She acts like a ditz but you can tell that when Keiichi talks about altering destiny and the power of friendship, she isn’t following blindly – she truly realizes the importance of his words. She knows that in life, it is important to be happy and have fun and be open, and for that she is my ideal waifu~
Satoko and Hanyuu were probably my least favorite of the cast, but not to say I didn’t love them both. What I love about Satoko is that she can be self-reliant even though she’s young and definitely learns from her past mistakes. I also erally love her attentiveness of her friends, namely Rika. The only problem I have with Satoko is that she’s kind of dense, but I think it comes with her youngness. Hanyuu just didn’t get proper screentime but OH MY GOD she is moe beyond all fucking reason. Three hauau’s in I was already ready for the doujin hunt.
Rika was another something special. I think that she was actually a pretty realistic portrayal of someone who had lived through the same time passage for 100 years. You can tell from certain hints that she was at first confused, at some point probably went mad, has done a lot to try and figure the whole mess out, and eventually just resigned to it all and sat back for the ride, trying her best to enjoy the good parts. It’s easy to see that when she starts to see things go wrong, she gets depressed knowing her inevitable fate. I was trully convinced with her wavering emotions during the saving Satoko arc which eventually swelled into an unfaltering hope.
Takano Miyo was certainly an unexpected case, but one I’m far more used to. Her backstory was like a list of things I like put into action and the results were perfect. Miyo is almost the embodiement of the main character of the story I’m writing. At the end of the darkness, one would surely realize that with force of will they can conquer anything. It’s what I found at the end of my darkness, and my character as well who’s experiences are a lot like Miyo’s. I’m very glad she had a perceivably happy ending even if it was part of the aforementioned and to-be-stated problem I had with Kai.
Obviously I’ve saved the best for last – Motherfucking Keiichi. Maebara Keiichi is The Man of Men. He is a GOD. I was a Keiichi fan from right of the BAT (badumtish) an he only grew more awesome as the sereis moved forward. He doesn’t hold back and when he has to swing the bat, he swings through – somtimes through a human head. When he killed Teppei he earned my Infinite Respect, and then he earned it all over again when he led an epic uprising to put Teppeis ass behind bars (and hopefully pounded). He’s on the GAR list just a couple names under Kamina himself.
Now, I’d liek to cover my only issue with Kai which was kind of a double-edged sword. The first 15 episodes of Kai were totally incredible. The saving Satoko arc was the perfect logical progression and it’s ending was beyond fucking epic. When everyone was ready to reach the final world, I was excited as shit. The backstory of Takano Miyo was also extremely well-placed and deserved, as it evened the playing field for one final epic battle. But that’s where things kind of went awry. The ending just wasn’t epic enough. However, it really couldn’t have been. Higurashi as a whole had to weigh two very heavy, defining choices. On the one hand, if everyone survived, then it would be proof that the power of will could onquer anything, and would be the perfect end. If anyone died, it would ruin the theory and the whole thing would be a sad end, but not necessarily an unexpected one.
Obviously, the ending I was rooting for was one where everyone lived. However, no matter what, an ending where no one dies just can’t be as epic as one where each character dies a manly death. Instead, because the power of friendship overcame, the ending was forced to feel a little campy. I mean it was still awesome and still had a great final battle and all, but it was silly and more on the ‘lol’ fun side than the dramaic or epic side. It couldn’t be helped, and you could say that the halfway point end had enough epic for the whole series it’s just… you know. All said, it was a great show, and aside from lack of epic, a perfect ending full of hope – no one dies, everyone wins. There don’t need to be any losers in the world, and that is certainly a beautiful portrayal of such. And I mean there’s nothing really wrong with a guy singlehandedly dispatching a squad of dudes and taking a punch to the chest by their leader unflinching then decimating the fron of his car with his fist nor a group of kids taking out a military-employed platoon of trained fighters with guns. After all, this IS anime.