When They Cry: 2020 (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni- Gou)

"Higurashi no Naku Koro ni- Gou (When They Cry: 2020)"

Prerequisition: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (2006) & Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (2007)

Studio: Passione

Length: 24 eps

DISCLAIMER: This review will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for Studio Deen’s 2006 and 2007 adaptations which was covered in another post…it’s advised against reading ahead if you haven’t watched the earlier adaptation and ever plan on starting the series


The Hinamizawa Tragedy was one that was avoided through a lot of trial and error, and a lot of death and despair following it…but, against all odds, it was the fate that Rika Furude and the rest of her acquaintances in Hinamizawa banded together in beating, through countless time loops followed by gruesome deaths…

A few years later after the dust has settled on the incident, Rika had being enjoying the life in front of her, when she is once again, pulled back into the time loop, forcing her to relive the horror that spent over 100 years trying to overcome, and eventhough this time she has all the knowledge she needs to overcome the incident one more time, it seems everything she does to prevent what she had formerly been through, seems to backfire and cause the cycle of death once more again…

Facing the demon that she thought she had beaten once after a 100 year battle, this sequel focuses once more on Rika Furude, where she once again has to endure the trials she once overcame, with the catch this time being that, everything she does leading to a differently gruesome outcome and with one of the people she trusts, doing everything they can to stop her from succeeding.


If I’m ever asked to name the best mystery series on impulse, Higurashi would easily be my first answer…since in it’s first run, it was uniquely presented in a way that it kept you questioning everything you see, hitting you with the actual answers that made your jaw hit the floor while also breaking up the tension with some slice of life inspired moments in the middle…in brief, it’s writing had heart, awe and soul…and in comparison, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou lacks all 3 of these…while it had the ideas to make it as rewarding of an experience, the way it was put together ended up making me dreading every moment this anime went on.

It makes a very good first impression…where it’s first episode was a complete remake of the original’s introduction…and it was superior to the initial outing in every way…the character interactions were reworked for the better, and it wasn’t followed by Studio Deen’s wonky artstyle and animation…and the time the original’s OP starts playing at the end credits, it was enough to give a long time fan of the series like me goosebumps right up to the neck…the point is, it’s start was really good…

Even after you finish the first episode, there is no indication whatsoever that this series needs prior knowledge to get into, as Studio Passione first marketed it to being a remake…buuut when the second episode does roll in, that status takes a nosedive out of the window…this is because, just by the first few minutes of the episode, it already spoils one of the biggest revelations in the original, which is the part of Rika being the true protagonist, and not Keiichi Maebara…

And by this point, the anime makes clear that it demands a lot of precise knowledge of it’s predecessor… from how each timeline ended, what the Hinamizawa Syndrome is, all the way to knowing about the Yamainu and Miyo Takano fate and that she was the root cause of The Hinamizawa Tragedy to begin with…

But even knowing all of these ain’t enough to make this sequel any appealing…while it’s primary hook was the reworked character interactions and the alternative paths each timeline took compared to it’s original, while the former was better to some extent, the latter ranged from less satisfying to downright infuriating…where at times, the ending to each timeline is cut short, while at the other, its not even shown and proceeds to say what happened through a short conversation causing the pacing to be an absolute nightmare…

While the first half pretty much feels like a rewritten retread of it’s predecessor, it only starts truly embracing it’s sequel status by the 2nd half of the run…and somehow, it ends up being worse that before…the unique twist that makes Satoko Hojo into the new time-looping antagonist who is doing everything she can to stop Rika from leaving Hinamizawa and experiencing a new life, if done right, could’ve been another one of this anime’s trials that would’ve been as equally enticing to beat…but due to the extremely selfish and ridiculous motive of being singled and pressured out in their new prestigious school of St. Lucia and since Rika has found a new group of friends that Satoko refuse to mingle with causing her to possessive to the point that she want to live with Rika in Hinamizawa forever…this motive had me wincing and in disbelief, as it is a far cry from what Rika went through in the original. And they way she abuses her new found power made me lose respect for the character…that’s a shame however since it turned Satoko from a truly sympathetic character to a baseless and obsessive, causing the part where the character focus switches to her from Rika feel like a chore to get through …but to it’s credit, I was satisfied to see where most of the cast who went through the previous hell actually ends up in a few years, eventhough it didnt last very long

Characters in general hasn’t seen any improvements, rather, I would say they are either exactly where they were before or made even worse…while the cast including the like of Keiichi, Rena, The Sonozaki Twins Mion and Shion as well as Satoko and Rika were the same characters I grew to love and empathize with early on, by the latter half of the run, I was growing tired by some of them…compared to the likes of Rika and villainous Satoko, the rest doesn’t nearly have enough screentime, and by the latter half, it’s like if their presence as individual characters is completely forgotten…I was a bit disappointed to see the character downtime being completely cut-out as time goes on, but I am also glad it went this way considering how it tended to misuse the character tropes that made them loveable in the first place, whether it be Keiichi powering through situations to not fall behind the ladies, or whether it’s Rena’s tendency to seize anything she finds cute and take it back home, previously I enjoyed these tropes, but now it annoys more.

Animation on the other hand is a significant step-up from Deen’s 2006 outing(obviously) but falls short of modern day standards most of the time…while it’s definitely easier on the eyes compared to it’s predecessor, it comes at the cost of the creep factor that it previously did have…for example, in the very first timeline itself, the moment Rena starts hunting Keiichi, it was one that even I could feel the chills of…compare that to the new visuals, it fell short at least in my point of view…while the visuals and animation have to be the strongest aspect of this whole anime compared to the rest, it still is rather inconsistent at times, where in a couple of scenes I spotted the same facial expression copy pasted on the 2 others in a single sequence, but moments like those could be counted on one hand, so it’s not a total deal breaker most of the time.

Higurashi is a series that didn’t need a sequel to begin with, on considering how well it ended… and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou proves my point…its an underwhelming sequel that had the ideas to shine through, but misses the mark completely with inconsistent pacing, a baseless second half, all over the place character presentation and hit or miss visuals and animation… I’ll always remember it’s initial outing for being one of the best mysteries of all time, but this one is something I want to forget that it exists.