This is only a review of season 1.
I actually had to start skipping the opening song every episode, because it was too catchy. I ended up losing sleep because I couldn’t get it out of my head and it made me remember all the scary bits in the show it was from. I’m such a scaredy cat.
Higurashi is a show with a really unique format, because it consists of relatively short story arcs that each occur during the exact same point in time. With different events happening in each arc. I think that this was the best way a visual novel adaptation could be approached, especially in the horror genre, simply because it contributes so well to the eerie atmosphere.
All of the main characters in Higurashi become extremely well developed throughout the progression of this series, which makes it all the more brutal in the end. Disregarding genre, developing these characters so well also creates a richer story, which always improves the experience of watching any show. The fact that they were able to do this with so many main characters is truly amazing.
Most secondary characters were given almost no development, but as something adapted from a visual novel it makes perfect sense for most secondary characters to be rudimentary. It is also possible that they are given more depth in the second season.
Another element that makes this show so well done is that you see so much more than the horror elements. Without the slice of life type beginning to each arc this show would be quite mediocre, because it’s the change in the tone and not the tone by itself that makes it a good horror.
Changes in perspective, as were also seen throughout different arcs, contributed more to the mystery within the show. Giving you small clues that eventually build up, providing a chance to see what’s really going on.
Within season 1, much of the plot is explained and wrapped up, leaving only a few questions which I’ve heard are answered in the second season. The way the story appears scattered at the beginning and converges towards the end is masterful.
I believe that any fan of anime probably should watch this show at some point, because it really is a unique and brilliantly made show. Although it is horror so if you’re a scaredy cat like me, feel free to skip it.