Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei


Although I completed Rei a while back (soon after I completed Higurashi, actually), news of it having a new series made me remember that I never wrote something about it here, although I said that if I were to read Rei then a review would follow. But, this is better late than never, right?  Even though this isn’t really a review either, but more of a very brief collection of thoughts I had whilst reading.

I think that when I’m talking about fan discs from now on (or even doujin VNs based off already existing franchises), I won’t review them properly. Instead, summaries will be given for the curious fan who just wants to know what is going on in something that they’re unable to read. Seems like a decent enough idea.

Admittedly, I’m slightly ticked off that Higurashi is getting yet another animated installment while Umineko is being left in the dust, but I suppose that it’s understandable. Higurashi will always be the more popular out of the two, and the one that is more revered and well loved (erogamescape averages out the scores for Higurashi in the eighties, and Umineko in the late sixties/early seventies).

From what I can recall of the OVAs, they were well animated, and the character designs were consistent. Nothing of great importance was left out (except for some dialogue and Bernkastel’s origin), so I wouldn’t say that reading Rei is an absolute must, unlike Higurashi where I would advise you to read the VNs before checking out the anime. Reading Saikoroshi-hen is optional to get a better feel of Rika’s situation, while I think that the other pair of silly chapters were better off being animated.

Saikorosh-hen was the sole reason I even wanted to read the fandisc. It was another ‘what if?’ scenario, an installment in the series which actually means something and gives the readers a look to what a pure world where the cast is devoid of their respective sins would be like. Takano Hifumi wouldn’t have had his research trampled on, and would have become the director of a hospital in Hinamizawa. Takano would have been content with that outcome, and would have lived her life a different path without involving herself in shady groups or having to dirty her hands. Takano wouldn’t have had a sin. Irie wouldn’t have become the director of the clinic, so perhaps his father didn’t become mentally disturbed, and him and his mother would have continued to live happily together while Irie continued to study in college. Ooishi”s friend wouldn’t have died in the dam conlict, and he wouldn’t have wrongly suspected the Sonozaki family, carrying out his retirement in peace.

Keiichi would have never lost his patience and shot children, there would have been no uproar, and his family wouldn’t have had to move to Hinamizawa. Keiichi wouldn’t have had a sin. Rena’s mother’s company would have never went bankrupt, her family would have never moved to Ibaraki, her mother wouldn’t have had an affair ad their family wouldn’t have been torn apart. And most importantly, she would have never felt disgust for the name ‘Reina’ and insist on being called Rena. Rena wouldn’t have had a sin. Shion and Mion would have never underwent the tattoo switching, and would have a friendly enough sibling relationship without anything tainting it. Shion and Mion wouldn’t have had a sin. Satoko wouldn’t have succumbed to her level 5 symptoms, and push her mother and stepfather off a cliff, and Satoshi wouldn’t have succumbed to his symptoms. Satoko and Satoshi wouldn’t have had a sin, and that world would have actually been the ideal world for them.

But in true Higurashi style, just because it was the supposed ideal world, the holy grail doesn’t mean that it actually turned to be the perfect one for everyone. By everyone working through their sins, they became stronger for it, and overall better people. Satoko is a fine example of this. If her family were still together, she would have been an intolerable, unlikable brat who still latched onto her beloved nii-nii over the slightest issue. Never truly growing up or being able to live for herself, Rika comes to the conclusion that the Satoko in the ideal world is nothing at all like her Satoko, the one who she lives and shares peaceful times with. The question that Ryu clearly was trying to ask was that if you were offered a world where no bad things occurred, and essentially had the chance to make a new start… would you?

I wouldn’t say that the subsequent arcs were painful to read through, but for the most part they bored the hell out of me. They failed to seriously keep my interest during the OVAs, and it was even worse. If you found yourself enjoying the lighthearted Angel Mort scenes in Higurashi where customers were drooling over Rika and Satoko’s cosplay, then you will probably enjoy them.

With the original VNs and fandisc read, what’s next for the village of Hinamizawa? At some point I want to read the DS exclusive installments (which features stories involving Hanyuu’s past, and Akasaka’s daughter), but I’m in no real rush to. All in good time, I suppose.

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