First off, I’d like to say hello to everyone on Forever Geek. My name is Nopy and I guess I’m the newest member here. I have a strong interest in anime and anything anime-related (in other words, I’m an anime otaku) so the majority of my posts here will be dealing with these areas.
For my first post I thought I’d review the first episode of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Rei (a.k.a. When They Cry or When Cicadas Cry), which was released on DVD at the end of February. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei is the OVA (original video animation) for the Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni series, meaning that one episode will be released on DVD every 1-2 months. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni series, it’s about a group of children (Keiichi, Rena, Mion, Shion, Rika, Satoko, and Hanyuu) living in a secluded town in Japan during the 1980s. During the month of June in 1983, strange events begin to occur such as people disappearing, finding dead bodies, suicide, and mass paranoia. All of this eventually leads up to the night of a local festival at the end of the month where everyone dies or goes insane. After that, Hanyuu, who is actually a goddess in human form (albeit with limited power) turns back time in the hopes that the slaughter at the end of the month doesn’t occur again. Of course, life never goes the way you want and the events repeat over and over again. Besides Hanyuu, the only other person that knows about the turning back of time is Rika, a young preistess. Being a priestess, Rika has some spiritual powers and is able to remember what happens before Hanyuu turns back time (which sucks because she always gets killed at the end of the month). Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni focuses on several different arcs where the main characters try to solve the mysteries surrounding the town and survive past June 1983.
The start of each arc in Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni always begins with a carefree episode a few weeks before the end of June. Rei is no different in this respect as it starts things off with everyone enjoying their time at the pool. As always, Keiichi is running late and halfway to the pool he realizes he forgot his swimming trunks at home. Mion’s uncle, who owns a store in town, just happens to see Keiichi fretting outside over what kind of punishment Mion and company will have waiting for him if he’s late. In desperation, Keiichi borrows these “magical” trunks (it’s actually a green speedo with white swirls) which are said to make the wearer popular with girls after he writes his name on the trunks and wears them for 3 hours. Keiichi makes it to the pool on time and all is fine and dandy until Mion gets a call from her uncle telling her that he mis-read the instructions for Keiichi’s trunks (this is the first time I’ve ever heard of swimwear coming with instructions) and that Keiichi will become a narcissist if he doesn’t take off his trunks in 3 hours. This is where things start to go crazy for Keiichi.
Normally, if you’re a guy and a group of girls is chasing after you, that’s a good thing, but not if they’re trying to snatch your swimwear at a public pool. Mion and company chase after Keiichi in order to save him from becoming a narcissist, but Keiichi proves to be too good of a swimmer to catch, even with the help of Hanyuu’s time-controlling abilities.
This is when the girls decide they need backup and enlist the help of nurse Takano, Mion’s sister Shion, and their teacher Chie-sensei (you can’t have a pool/beach episode in anime without all of the female cast present). Seeing as this is supposed to be a horror/murder-mystery, you’ve got to have some murder weapons present and we are not disappointed. Takano, Shion, and Chie pull out their “weapons” in classic anime fashion (out of thin air) and proceed to hunt down Keiichi. I just loved the weapon choices in this part, Takano pulls out some syringes (remember, she’s a nurse), Chie pulls out some T-squares (who knew a ruler-like object could be so dangerous), and Shion pulls out a taser (at a pool no less).
Just as things couldn’t seem to get any worse for Keiichi, he finds himself cornered by a large group of perverts that Rika bribed with one of her swimsuits (which is just wrong on so many levels). At that moment, the “Soul Brothers” come to Keiichi’s rescue riding?surfboards (this is how all heroes should make an entrance).
The episode just gets even weirder from here on out with Takano’s secret spies popping out of the water, the riot police charging into the pool, and my favourite part of the episode: Tomitake blocking a bullet with pure muscle!
With the 3 hours almost up before Keiichi turns into a narcissist and being unable to defeat the Soul Brothers, Mion, Rena, and Satoko turn to their womanly charms (girlish charms in Satoko’s case) to lead the Brothers away from each other.
They then convince each of the Sould Brothers that they need to steal Keiichi’s trunks for themselves. Now that the Soul Brothers have switched sides, Keiichi has nowhere to run and it’s mission accomplished for Mion and company.
This episode was drastically different from the usual dark setting that viewers of Higurashi have become accustomed to. It was more of a parody of the regular series and anime in general with parts like Takano’s spies abandoning her and battle poses you’d normally find in fighting anime. Seeing as this was a “fanservice” episode, a few things were a bit farfetched (actually, everything seemed too farfetched), but they did include everything one would expect to find in a fanservice episode: the entire female cast in swimsuits (including a nurse and teacher), a strange but funny objective, each character saying their “line”, and random battles to fill the time. Although episodes like this one are fun to watch every once in a while, a whole bunch of them wouldn’t make a very good series. Thankfully, according to the next episode preview, it looks like the remaining four episodes will take place after the end of season 2 and once again involve some kind of mystery. The DVD for the second episode comes out on March 25 and I hope it turns out as well as the tv series.
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