Saturday, July 11, 2009

Higurashi no... holy shit

Ah, Japan, when not serving us wacky fun games about male cheerleaders saving the world through... well, cheerleading, or about the prince of all cosmos gathering up stuff with... what I can only assume is a sticky ball of some sort, you do a damn fine job at scaring the heck out of us. Avid readers might, if one assumes they exist, remember me praising Japanese horror's tendency towards the slow buildup and excellent atmosphere.

Now, why bring this up again? Well, because I've found myself a new Japanese animated series that quite frankly is freaking me out. The title is Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, translating to "When the cicades cry," and it follows the young man Maebara Keiichi and his small posse of friends/potential love interests/most certainly psychotic murderers (more on that later) in the sleepy little village of Hinamizawa. Unsurprisingly, the town has a dark secret or two, and his friends doubly so.

Initially we're lead to believe only one of them are crazy, if this is Keiichi or someone else is always up for debate, untill, of course, things goes from bad to paranoid to worst to the nth degree. Let me tell you, I never thought anyone under the age of 20 could nearly as scary as these young ladies, they're not really creepy, like many underaged threats, ghosts or whatnot, they're actually threatening, downright scary I'd say. Also, the series excells in that it makes the daily grind of a young student seem like a cage, keeping the main character trapped in an ever downward spiral of paranoia and fear.

Another thing is, this series really keep a tight grip on the answers, while the torrent of questions keep piling up. I've been told the first season, the one I'm watching at the moment, is called the "Question-arch," and trust me, this description is an accurate one if I ever saw one. It's like someone named certain episodes from the middle of season 2 of twin peaks "The pointless roadtrip-arch," but I digress. Currently, I'm 8 episodes into season one, and I'm freaked out to the point where I fear what sort of madness the series might throw at me. It's almost like FLCL, but with fear instead of bewildered laughter. These 8 episodes have also showed me a particularly nasty form of torture. Let me just say it puts a dark spin on the expression hammertime, and leave it at that.

Oh, and on another note, the shows opening theme song is good. It's a kind of creepy techno-esque thing that kind of reminds me of a slightly less German version of E Nomine with some JPop thrown in for good measure. It sets up the mood for the series just spiffily. In closing notes, I've heard the manga's actually better yet, I plan to find out if that's true at some point.

Well, enough on that, time to see if I can glean some meaning from the rest of the episodes.

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