Manga: Higanbana No Saku Yoru Ni
"Please listen to the story of my pitiful self."
Marie Moriya is a rather timid girl, who is frequently bullied by her classmates. On top of that, Kanamori, her homeroom teacher who initially defended Marie, has begun to molest her at night in the Old School Building
. When some of the other students start talking about the ghost story of a girl (herself) crying in the toilets at night and killing those who talk to her, Marie desperately wishes this to become reality in order to take her revenge on everyone who makes her life a living hell, starting with her teacher. Just as she is thinking that, a strange girl appears before her and offers to make her the 8th mystery of the school
. She is the doll of the infirmary, the Dancing Higanbana. Marie's wish is about to come true…Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni
, officially translated as "The Unforgiving Flowers Blossom in the Dead of Night" (literally translated as "On the Night the Red Spider Lily Blooms") is a horror manga series, created by the creator of the When They Cry
series, Ryukishi07, and drawn by Ichirō Tsunohazu (the actual character designs are by Nishieda, though), that started in 2010. It is published in the Monthly Dragon Age magazine from Yen Press
, who also published the manga adaption of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Ryukishi07 has adapted the manga as a two-part Visual Novel
series, with each game being released on August 13 and December 31 of 2011, respectively. Unlike When They Cry
, each game is a Genre Anthology
and contains up to seven self-contained short stories. Each of these stories follows a different protagonist, though the benevolent youkai Marie and her not so benevolent friend Higanbana always have some role in them. The stories are sometimes dark and cruel but sometimes simply bittersweet.
This entry has a character sheet
Fan translations of both sound novels have been completed
This manga/visual novel provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The manga goes into detail while showing us the cruel bullying Marie has to put up with, Kanamori's perverted obsession with Marie, and the Mind Rape Higanbana puts Marie through to strengthen her resolve in becoming a youkai. This is all downplayed in the VN adaptation; Marie and Kanamori's backstories are merely mentioned and hardly shown, and Higanbana's interactions with Marie are much more restrained yet still effectively creepy.
- Adult Fear: Marie is sexually abused and blackmailed by her teacher, who tells her that no one would believe her if she told. And then said teacher murders her when she finally threatens to tell someone.
- All of the Other Reindeer
- Alpha Bitch: Marie's classmate Mio.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Each story follows a different protagonist, though Marie and Higanbana show up multiple times to prove that they're the main characters.
- Asshole Victim: Kanamori.
- Bishōnen: Kanamori, even though he's a sick, sick man
- Bittersweet Ending: As dark as the series is, most of the stories actually have sliver of hope in them, and most of the protagonists are relatively well off at the end. Most of them.
- Blackmail: Kanamori tapes Marie while molesting her, and threatens to expose it if she tries to tell anyone about it. Marie later tries to reverse it, saying that all she has to do is say that Kanamori was the one who taped her. It doesn't work.
- Break the Cutie: Somewhat subverted, as Marie is already broken when the manga starts.
- Breather Episode: Several, notably Story 6, "One girl's day", and Story 8, "The Youkai's Tsukimi" who are both short and relatively light-hearted compared to the other stories.
- Central Theme: Bullying in school, and how children are affected by it.
- Chiaroscuro: The sprites in the VN are drawn in this style.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Part of Kanamori's backstory; he was a decent and fairly cheerful young chap by the time he started work as a homeroom teacher. However, the unbearable stress of work, as well as his unhealthy fetish towards Marie, quickly warped his mind into something far more sinister.
- Creepy Doll: Higanbana often takes this form.
- Darker and Edgier: According to Word of God, in comparison to his earlier works. And considering how dark they were, that's saying something.
- Death by Origin Story: Marie is strangled to death by Kanamori halfway through the first episode, then comes back as a youkai and shows up in just about every other episode.
- Distaff Counterpart: Renoir of the Art Room contains many parallels to the dynamic with Kanamori, Marie, and Higanbana. Nafumi is a counterpart to Kanamori, as Yuuki is to Marie and Renoir is to Higanbana. Nafumi projects an image of being a Cool Teacher who is beloved by her male students and sought after by some of the male teachers, when she's really a sadistic child molester who finds pleasure in seeing boys getting hurt and abused because she thinks it's beautiful. Yuuki is an innocent kid who is regularly being abused by the teacher he secretly loves, and this leads to his death when he finally tells her to stop. Renoir is a youkai who ends up becoming friends with a human he originally intended to eat. The differences lie in that Nafumi had more victims than Kanamori, Yuuki is not as bullied as Marie was and doesn't become a new youkai, and Renoir's friendship with Yuuki was more straightforward than Higanbana's, to the point that he genuinely wanted to avenge Yuuki since he wasn't powerful enough to stop Nafumi.
- The Dog Bites Back: Marie successfully becomes a youkai and gives Kanamori exactly what's coming to him.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Completely averted; Nafumi's abuse and molestation of Yuuki is treated just as seriously as Kanamori's treatment of Marie.
- Expy: Sakunoshin is a carbon copy of Sakutaro from Umineko no Naku Koro ni, right down to the Verbal Tic "uryu~". They only differ by name, origin, and the fact that there's no badge on Sakunoshin's muffler.
- Fan Disservice:
- In the first chapter we get a picture of a naked Marie after she got abused by her teacher.
- More images of a naked, or nearly-naked, Marie show up as well. Considering that not only is she underaged, but all of them show her being abused.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Instead of downright killing him, Higanbana turns Hikaru into a rabbit and (at his request) gives him one last chance to redeem himself. He fails and is dropped into a rabbit cage full of rabbits he tortured as a human. The only thing clear about his future is that rabbits have a horrifyingly high libido, and they aren't exactly picky about doing it with someone of the same sex...
- "Groundhog Day" Loop/Peggy Sue: Averted. This is a series where, unlike 07th Expansion's other two famous series, if anyone dies, that person stays dead. And whatever is after death isn't all that fun.
- Inelegant Blubbering: One the many things that make the more dramatic scenes hard to take seriously in the manga.
- Kids Are Cruel: Most of the stories feature school-bullying of some sort, though "Utopia" takes this Up to Eleven.
- Kiss of Death: Marie gives this to Kanamori right before she eats him.
- Large Ham: Higanbana has her moments, but Kanamori far out-hams her.
- Lighter and Softer: The VN tones down or removes some of the most horrifying scenes of the manga (notably the details of Kanamori's abuse of Marie), though it's certainly not light and soft, mind you.
- Lolicon: Kanamori is one of these. In the worst way.
- Meganekko: Marie herself. Also the school nurse. Takeshi Nonomiya is a male example.
- Meaningful Name: "Meso meso" is the sound one makes while sobbing and crying, which is what Marie does quite often.
- Off with Her Head!: As part of a hallucination(?) of Marie. Also the cover-page of chapter three.
- Puni Plush: The graphic style in both the manga and the VN. Though surprisingly, Ryūkishi07's sprites are actually less Puni Plush than Tsunahazu's drawings.
- Put on a Bus: Oh, quite literally in "Utopia". And then the bus crashes and burns.
- Psychological Horror: The VN at least; the manga plays a more direct form of horror.
- Rape as Drama
- Sadist Teacher: Kanamori, who abuses Marie to relieve his daily stress. There's also Nafumi, who gets off on seeing young boys abused and molested because she thinks it's beautiful.
- Scare Dare
- Schmuck Bait: The page quote? Listening to it is not a problem. Responding to it IS. Look below.
- The rules of Mesomeso-san: One, if you encounter Mesomeso-san, you cannot talk to it. Two, you cannot respond to any of Mesomeso-san's questions. And three, you cannot attempt to find out Mesomeso-san's identity. Those who try are dragged into the toilet, get all the bones in their body broken, and are ultimately killed. Hook, line, and sinker Kanamori.
- School Bullying Is Harmless: Err, nope, it's not.
- The Seven Mysteries: And the creation of an eighth...
- Shout-Out: The story of "Mesomeso-san" is similar to the story of Hanako of the Toilet.
- The Visual Novel contains blatant, unapologetic references to Umineko no Naku Koro ni. First there are kids who are talking about a manga and anime series called "Sea Cats," then there's a school play entitled "Rokkenjima." Then there's the character Sakunoshin, a carbon copy of Umineko's Sakutaro.
- In the character information, Michiru is revealed to buy clothes from a brand called Anti Rosa.
- Spiritual Successor: While not part of the When They Cry series, Higanbana bears a similar atmosphere and perpetuates several of its themes, like child abuse, school bullying or the use of magic to escape reality.
- Status Quo Is God: The series is just a collection of short stories and doesn't really have a cohesive plot, so whatever happens past the first story, Marie always ends up chatting happily with Yokai she was fighting the day before.
- Troll: Higanbana as fits the seeming rule of "at least one troll per 7th Expansion work". Her trolling tactic of choice is the usage of dark Irony.
- Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Marie has a strange ability to find sweets...
- Vague Age: It's never made clear exactly what grade levels any of the student characters are at, or even whether the school where the series takes place is an elementary school or a middle school.