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Nightmare Fuel: Higurashi When They Cry
That's quite some itch there. Quite surprising how that is all a delusion from a Hate Plague.
Ahh Higurashi...how you rival Evangelion in terms of insanity, mind rapes, and wet-the-bed scariness...
The alternate character reading for 'Watanagashi' can be horrifying on its own, but when combined with the ACR for 'Matsuri', it becomes pant-pissingly scary. 'Watanagashi' can be read as either 'cotton-drifting' or 'intestine drifting'. Pretty bad on its own, right? Well, 'matsuri' can be read as either 'festival' or 'feast'. So, the Watanagashi-Matsuri can be referred to as either the 'Cotton Drifting Festival' or 'Intestine Drifting Feast.' Sweet dreams!
One scene where a young Lolita with a speech impediment, kidnapped by a psychopath, picks up a knife. Obviously she's going to go down swinging, right? WRONG. She picks up the knife, starts speaking in perfect adult Japanese, braces the knife's handle against the wall and headbutts it seven times before she dies. This being Higurashi, absolutely no explanation is given for this at all until late in the same season. Just look below.
The Rika suicide scene. First of all, when Shion injects the vaccine into Rika, she starts convulsing for a few moments. Her suicide scene in the manga is even worse than the anime. Full of screaming, even scarier and gorier images, and a girl literally driving a knife into her neck. When she falls to the floor she stares at Shion before dying while in a giant pool of her own blood. The look Shion's face throughout it sums it up.
Try reading the VN version then! In Which Rika not only headbutts the knife, but repeatedly slits her throat, she scratches it a bit and then RIPS IT OPEN! All while Shion is watching and saying that is 'a beautiful animalistic act' and starts laughing!
In the Tatarigoroshi-hen story arc, the audience knows just what Watanagashi is all about. That doesn't make the opening to the first chapter any easier: A man is poking a bag in a canal with a stick, complaining that it stinks. When it bursts, the camera pans slowly across a decaying, maggot-infested corpse whose hands had freakishly long nails driven through EVERY SINGLE JOINT. Later on, you learn that that person's death is often a trigger for Satoko's Evil Uncle to return, and it's implied that that maggot infested corpse is Mamiya Rina because we later learn that he only comes back after Rina gets knocked off, when the police are tracking him.
The ending of Watanagashi-hen itself has one of the most bed-wetting Nightmare Fuel scenes in history. After the main character evades two different attempts on his life by the same person and is told she was found dead, he's left alone in his hospital room. All of a sudden, someone grasps his wrist. GUESS WHO??? Not just her after she's supposed to be dead, though. Her with blood running down her face and over her body. She says that she changed her mind about her promise not to kill him, and even the subtitles get into the game here, fading from white to bright red. Then she readies her nail, and the last thing you see before the screen goes red is her hammer coming down right at you as she laughs hysterically.
In the English dub, she asks Keiichi if he really thought she'd give him that third wish (to not kill him), calling him a "silly, silly boy" before ramming the hammer into his face a nail into his finger. Of course, we find out that by this time, Shmion is/are dead, and the Shion we see (which points to the Backup Twin point) is actually a delusion, and Keiichi suffers a heart attack and dies.
Which makes Hinamizawa Syndrome much worse: you're not only losing your mind and your life, you're having fucked up hallucinations. Your last moments of life are full of madness and horror.
It was handled fantastically in the manga. He's left alone, and there's a full-page spread of Keiichi just sitting there and Oh Crap why is there a hand there? You flip the page, and you find the exact same shot, only that a terrifying face has emerged to accompany the bloody hand, rising from under the bed. The final two pages are, to be blunt, EXTREMELY DISTURBING.
Sure, the manga makes it worse in showing Mion's corpse with her broken neck and torn-off fingernails from when she crawled out of the well, guess who was afraid of their bedside for a month after that revelation?, but the sound novel is just as bad. Keiichi actually tries to hold a conversation with Mion as she slowly crawls out
from beneath the bed, even though he knew it was a hallucination.
There's a point where Keiichi is on the phone in his room, speaking to the police. He's been keeping this correspondence a secret from his friends, because he knows they're hiding something from him and have been getting increasingly creepy. After he hangs up the phone, his father comes in to ask what he and Rena were talking about. When Keiichi says that he wasn't on the phone with Rena, his father responds with something like, "Not on the phone, she showed up an hour ago and went right up to your room. I passed her on the stairs just a moment ago." This is when Keiichi figures out that Rena was standing outside his room, listening in on a phone conversation he explicitly told her he was not having.
In the anime this point is even more horrific if you re-watch the scene where Keichii is on the phone. The camera takes various points of view, first from the ceiling, then from behind the telephone. This is done to add a circling atmosphere of paranoia and disorientation. Then it shows from the ceiling, a crack in the door, the floor, etc. When you find out that Rena was spying on the conversation, you realize the crack was her vantage point.
The original game and manga version of the door scene has Rena explaining how she knows what Keiichi is eating for dinner: she was stalking him at the supermarket where he bought his dinner.Of course though she was just playing a joke on him and it was innocent. It's revealed in Tsumihoroboshi that Rena often goes grocery shopping with Keiichi's mother, which is why she knows what he has for dinner.
As told in one of the TIPS of Tatarigoroshi-hen, there's a recording of an interview found between a reporter and the hospitilized Keiichi. The reporter asks him what happened after he got pushed off the bridge and how he escaped the gas cloud that killed everyone else in Hinamizawa. As the reporter begins poking holes into Keiichi's story, he descends further and further into insanity. Finally, Keiichi rants about how he can wish death upon people and how he caused the disaster by wishing for Hinamizawa to die as he fell of the bridge. After mentioning hearing Oyashiro-sama's footsteps behind him, he wished "death by water" on the reporter, and the tape cuts off as he starts laughing psychotically. The TIPS then notes that Keiichi died a few days later, and the reporter drowned while on a fishing trip several years afterwards.
This is handled superbly in the manga where you really see how mad Keiichi has gotten, the death by water comment is more a Fridge Horror as it is noted a few pages earlier that the reporter died when his boat capsized. Then after 10-15 pages of creepiness they top it of in the last 3 pages first with Keiichi suddenly screaming out to the reporter: Don't let yourself be killed by a curse from the likes of me with his completly crazed face in the background. Then the creepiest thing of the all is the final page where it is noted that Keiichi died a few days later and there are records of him saying There's an extra footstep again... complete with a pair of legs walking across a completely black floor.
Not to mention that somewhere (believe it may be the VN), the police report following the arc. The body count is totalled up and physical injuries taken into account. Then Satoko appears on the screen as her abuse from Teppei is recounted. The text then moves on to suggest sexual abuse. Satoko's face becomes clear, sporting her Dull Eyes of Unhappiness and the music turns chillingly ominous. Then it all goes quiet, leaving the reader to make their own assumption of what happened.
In Onikakushi-hen, we are made to believe that the two girls in the arc are psychopathic killers, only for the answer arc to come along as show us how wrong we are. Keiichi himself was delusional, and hallucinated many of the things in that arc. The ohagi was Tabasco sauce, for example.
And then there are those times when Rena thinks there are maggots under her skin...even though it is a sign that she is infected with the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
"I thought that I wanted to harm myself. I even cut myself. Back then, when I slashed my wrists with a razor blade, mixed with my blood, a countless number of maggots came oozing out of me. Moreover, if they didn't overflow out of me, they would once again return inside of my wounds, wriggling their way back in. I scratched at the wounds on my wrist, trying to dig them out of me. It was just... so itchy."
Shion and the fingernail punishment.
And the music during the scene.
There's a scene in Onikakushi-hen where Keiichi slams Rena's hands in his front door and screams at her to go away as she pleads with him to stop. The scene feels quite long, but in actuality only lasts about twenty seconds. Keiichi then returns to his room and looks out the window to see Rena standing just outside his house in the rain, looking up at him and mouthing, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
Even worse in the manga is where Rena is still at the door in pain, and keeps chanting "I'm sorry" in a muffled voice, all the while possibly scratching at the door doing so.
In the Visual Novel, Keiichi smashing the bat against the ground during his practice swings. The sound effects and the way the camera shakes made it scarier.
Keiichi takes a phone call from a distressed Shion, who supposedly went missing a number of days previously. He has only recently found this out, and pleads with her to tell him that he's wrong. All she can do is sob. He then begins to poke holes in her confession that she spoke to another person who went missing around the same time; if she's telling the truth, the only way she could have spoken to them is to have done so after they went missing. There's a moment of silence after he points this out to her, and then she begins to laugh hysterically. Without another word, she hangs up.
The PS2 version of the scene is much creepier. The scene plays out the same right up until the moment of silence. Then Shion starts laughing in a more psychotic style than the anime, then out of nowhere, the volume suddenly become ten times louder as the screen goes, black, is then filled up with text that is Shion's laughter, and then we get a shot of Shion in a completely dark room where all that can be seen is her face, which can be only describe as a clown-esque deranged smile, all while the laughter goes on.
The PC visual novels weren't a slouch in the nightmare department, either. Sure, there's no voice acting at all, but it doesn't even matter. Before that point, every silent moment was punctuated by cicadas, crickets, or something else. When you scroll through the text with ENTER, piece by piece and then the laugh suddenly fills lines of text with nightmarish speed, the program suddenly wrestles control away from you and shows those scary eyes with a Scare Chord... and then silence. Utter and absolute. The loudest and most disturbing silence.
The manga version of the Orphanage of Fear from Takano's childhood in Matsuribayashi-hen. The anime version is awful, yes, but most of the violence there is implied...In the manga, you get to see what the orphanage staff considers "punishment." The lesser punishments involve being beaten within an inch of your life while wrapped in a mattress. The "special" ones...Takano's friend Eriko is fed to chickens while still alive. Miyo herself is lowered into a latrine face first, and only Takano Sr.'s last-minute rescue saves her from dying there.
The next page◊, when Eriko's eye pops out of the socket in a bloody mess.
"She kept talking about a ghost-like being, 'Oyashiro-sama.' Night after night, it came to her. It would stand by her bedside and look down at her."
Even WHILE knowing that's Hanyuu, in the manga when Keiichi is going insane himself, there's a couple of scenes where he is thinking about how he feels someone is watching him, and behind him in the darkness are a pair of faint glowing eyes. And then the darkness breathes.
Hanyuu has a strange tendency to follow people who are going insane. Lunatics claiming to hear 'I'm sorry' over and over again when there's no one there- that was her apologizing for not being able to stop it. Imagine being in Hanyuu's position, completely helpless to do anything but watch people go insane, and pleading for forgiveness only makes it worse....
Rena's curt "Shiranai" when asked about a dismembered body in the rubbish heap in Onikakushi-hen.
Satoko's uncle, Teppei Houjou. Woe if he sics Rina on you, because he's gonna make you his bitch for a while. And doubletriple tenfold woe if you're one of the kids he's taking care of. Wanna get beaten regularly, be forced to buy alcohol for him and his friends (never mind that you're PROBABLY NOT EVEN A TEENAGER YET), and being forced to lie when the local child welfare agency and your friends try to rescue you, lest you get the shit thoroughly beaten out of you?
Rena killing Rina in The Atonement Chapter, manga version. She dies quickly in the anime, no problem. A few smashes and she's dead, no real pain. In the manga, it's a slow and painful death, where we hear her begging for life as she realizes Rena isn't just beating her, but killing her. It makes even her sympathetic.
Not only Rena's bipolar face-changes from dull to smiley to serious, but the Eye Scream when she checks to see if Rina's really dead! And her cold calculation: "Rina...has become completely immobile."
Even in the anime, the death of her and her pimp are JUST A TAD on the graphic side, to the point where Rina's face is just a mashed up thing with teeth falling out. The shadow that falls over half her face in the censored version did nothing to shield us from the horror. And the uncensored version...*shudders*
In the manga where you see the toothless corpse with broken arms and fingers, complete with eyes bulging out.
The two-page spread in the second volume of Tatarigoroshi-hen about Keiichi's maddening rants and thoughts about killing Satoko's uncle, and how to make it a perfect crime. It was hard to read the sentences not just because it was all vertical and close together, but because of how frightening it was to read through a mental breakdown.
Onikakushi-hen itself. Two teenage girls see their friend acting strange, so they try to cheer him up. He avoids them, screams at them, and injures one of them much more then once. They still try to help him, and they try to cheer him up one more time before he goes away with Irie. They get beaten to death as a result.
Even the original is bad enough, before you realize what's actually going on. This kid moves to a town. For absolutely no reason, the two best friends he's made start stalking him, and then go threatening him, then to sending goons after him, and finally try to drug him into killing himself. All the while, he's being convinced that he's been slated for death by a god. Oh, and pretty much everyone he's identified as being willing to tell him anything get killed. All the while, you know exactly what's going to happen, since they showed it in the first scene.
The fact that your friends can easily get into your house leaves nowhere safe. The reality of Keiichi's paranoia is suffocating, especially when you look at it through his eyes. There's no-one to turn to, no-one you can be sure is on your side. You're alone in a village full of these kinds of people, any one of them could be out to get you. You could die at any time. Put together his behaviour of the first three arcs and Keiichi matches the criteria of a Paranoid Schizophrenic Remember they portrayed Higurashi as a nice anime on the surface? Guess who bought that cover and watched the first arc alone at night.
Even worse is the flashback in Atonement. Even if it was only a past iteration of the Groundhog Day Loop, just imagine being in his shoes, having a flashback of murdering your best friends over a misunderstanding.
Coupled with the parts of that scene that were left out in Onikakushi-hen but brought back for Keiichi's flashback, specifically a beaten and bloody Rena reaching her hands out to Keiichi with a smile on her face and gently telling him to "Believe in me" before he bashes her face in.
Shion repeatedly stabbing Satoko on a crucifix..
And in that same episode, the moment where Shion calmly orders Mion to jump in that well and die so that Shion can take her place and act like the victim once more.
The lyrics for the PS2 port of the original novel contain what could be part of the creepiest nursery rhyme in human history:
"Be good little children and go to sleep,OR ELSE THE HANDSWILL DRAG YOU DOWN."
YOU LIAR!!◊ Now with ten times more facial contortion.
More generally, people on this show have an unnerving tendency to die by clawing their own throats out with their fingernails. * shudder*
The opening song has a line that translates roughly as "I'll cut off your fingers and leave them in the forest."
Shion's and Mion's grandmother. Most depictions of her throughout the series prior to Kai show her horribly grotesque and screaming in rage.
The manga omakes, especially the ones with Satoshi and Satoko's future teddy bear. They're supposed to be funny, and are, but can also be quite creepy.
The part in Rei where Rika dies by getting her head LOBBED OFF by a truck after she finally got her sane reality screwed me up for a few hours.
And it doesn't stop there. Rika is shunted into yet ANOTHER alternate reality, just when she finally earned her happy future. First of all, the idea of being put in another reality is depressing and terrifying enough. But in this reality, Keiichi is nowhere to be seen, the girl who in other realities is her best friend is instead a bully, and the entire town of Hinamizawa is slated for demolition because the dam project went unopposed.
The sudden changes in the eyes of any of the characters (mostly Rena and Mion), in the first arc is absolutely horrifying to watch late at night.
Any of the mad laughter in general. Although it can sometimes cross over to Narm territory
The Hinamizawa village, location-wise, was based off a real village called "Shirakawa-go". The anime is already nightmarish, now imagine living there and then watching it. Paranoia Fuel at it's strongest.
Shion's path into insanity in Watangashi and Meakashi. The anime left out a good portion of it, but the manga drives it home. She honestly thinks she's doing something good. It gets a bit depressing when she's having revelations and flashbacks mid-insane moment. For example, Satoko's death scene.
Satoko's death.. In the anime she's killed with a stab to the head. In the manga she's stabbed less, but dies of blood-loss, as her killer is having adorable-depressing flashbacks, while thinking of her brother and how she will be stronger when he comes back. Pick which is more horrifying.
In the Watanagashi/Meakashi arcs, Shion imprisons Mion and takes her place without anyone ever realizing the truth, not even Mion's two best friends. That's high-grade Paranoia Fuel right there.
Think about what everyone must have thought when they learned their "nightmares" happened in other worlds. Especially Shion.
The constant "mask" faces of the Minagoroshi-hen manga adaptation.
The notion that Miyo killed her own boyfriend.
You know Rena's hatchet? Remember Tatarigoroshi-hen? Keiichi used Rena's hatchet instead of a random axe in the sound novels and manga..To wreck Teppei's house. Just when we thought it was innocent in that arc.
Though complete with Narm, there's one part in the live action adaption where Rena is not really harassing Keiichi, clawing at the windows, saying things like "A?" "B?" "C?" "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahaha!" And then you think it's all over and WHAM! She's behind him!? That wasn't in the anime!! Or manga. Or sound novels.
From the live action movies. Moreso a Tear Jerker then pure horror however Rena being shot at the end of the second movie, and Satoko meeting Teppei.
Rena chopping up Teppei and Rina was more graphic in the manga.
Kai's first arc. Imagine being a child of 9, living on her own with her 9-year old best friend, after both of your parents were killed. You're shunned by almost the entire village (save for everyone at school) because of a mistake your now dead parents made. Your best friend is acting strangely and differently, and you wake up at night because of her talking to "herself" about how she's going to be KILLED and nothing can be done. One day, you notice a strange man is stalking you and your best friend, but no matter who you tell, nobody believes you, not even your friends! You decide to tell the local doctor, a good friend and manager of your baseball team, but upon arriving, find out he apparently committed suicide. So, to catch the strange man in the act, you set up traps so you'll be alerted if someone comes in the vicinity. Your trap goes off that very night. You wake your friend and let her know, and she proceeds to hide you in the closet while allowing the strange MEN (yup, there's more of them) to kidnap her. After the noise dies down, you sneak out and go to the temple nearby that belongs to the family of your best friend. What do you find? Her DEAD, brutally murdered, her killers nearby and now chasing after you. You're barely saved from them as you fall off a bridge escaping them, and you wake up soon after on the shore. So, you go to town, only to see it's swarmed with police officials making a huge deal about something around your school. Upon looking through the window, you see the open-eyed, drooling CORPSES of your teachers, schoolmates and friends, making you the ONLY survivor of the entire TOWN. The resulting shock makes you a vegetable, barely conscious. A police officer at your bedside tells you that your friend, Rena, is missing, but left behind her bloodied hat as a possible sign. You awaken a while later with memory of this, and you realize exactly what the sign meant, so you call a nurse. Too bad that nurse is involved in the conspiracy! Guess what? You'll be dead by morning, and nobody will even be able to prove you were murdered.Let all of that register for a moment.
The "Limit" chapter. It's a fanfiction that won a contest and was drawn up by one of the Higurashi mangaka. The entirety of it is horrific, it's a Shion-Mion-Keiichi arc where Shion starts to act strange all of a sudden, and a Tear Jerker being that it's post-Kai. It reaches its limits when Keiichi and Shion delusion (?) a headless Mion. Mion continues to ask for her head, horrifying her already psychotic murderer sister. The worst part is that Satoko has decided to finish the now dead Shion's business.
It's something of a toss-up as to which member of the main group commits the most horrific acts, but the extreme contrast between Shion's initial portrayal, and just how far off the deep end she goes, is its own special kind of horrifying. If not for the Groundhog Day LoopReset Button, she wouldn't even be able to see the Moral Event Horizon anymore.
When you get down to it, the parasite that causes Hinamizawa Syndrome. Seeing the main characters commit horrible acts of violence against each other is scary enough, but you need to remember: at their core, the main characters are all good people and genuinely like each other. The fact that Hinamizawa Syndrome drives them to that point is pretty scary, especially if you know someone suffering from a similar mental illness.
Miyo preforming a vivisection on Rika's unwilling mother in the manga. It isn't explicit, going for a Gory Discretion Shot, but it still hits. Miyo's deranged laughter, the horrific way her face and eyes are drawn, and her victims screams of pain all let it sit. It gets worse with hindsight
The scene in Episode 5 at the end, where Shion is looking down from the window, sent chills down my spine.
Something about the beginning of episode 20, where Shion is tormenting Keichii and manipulating the townsfolk with phonecalls, all while nonchalantly eating a popsicle is disturbingly psychotic.
In episode 26, it shows Rena talking with the police after taking the entire school hostage. The camera then pans up to reveal a shot of Rena's maggot-infested neck.
Also in episode 26, the scene where Rena repeatedly smacks a young girl over the head with the handle of her machete.
Rika telling Miyo to disembowel her while she is still conscious and aware so that she may remember the event in her next world. You don't actually see it, but the idea sent shivers through me. In the manga, you actually get to see the whole process. And yes, that means they actually show Takano drawing Rika's internal organs out of her body while she is still alive. To top it all off, Takano laughs histerically while doing so.
The manga's version of gangs' deaths in Minagoroshi. In the anime, they either have a Gory Discretion Shot or are overshadowed by awesome. In the manga they're shot, in the head, on screen. Complete with an up close of their heads. Mion's death is even onscreen, and everyone is tied up. The build up for Satoko's death is excruciating, because you know it's going to happen and that you're going to get an upclose; in her case, you get a close up of the bullet hitting her It's pitiful and horrifying. But you know what's the worst part about the chapter? Naked Rika being vivisected by Takano.
To say nothing of the actual Hinamizawa Gas Disaster. You know what's going to happen, but seeing the villagers being rounded up, not knowing that they're about to be killed is terrifying, especially in the manga, which makes it clear that not all of the Yamainu are entirely on board with the plan. One old man in the classroom tries to open the door to let a little air in... and abruptly drops dead. His wife goes to see what the matter is... and drops dead. Everyone else in the room drops dead, until the only person left is Tomita (one of Those Two Guys). His eyes are filled with terror and confusion... and he falls over. Finally, there's Takano's declaration that she is Oyashiro-sama. It's pretty clear she's even freaking out the two Yamainu with her.
Miyo Takano becomes horror incarnated the moment she's revealed to be the villain.
Satoshi's death scene in the manga of the Eye Opening arc.
Yes, even Higurashi Kira has these. Episode 2, which features Rika and Satoko becoming Magical Girls, features a really dense fog that makes the residents of Hinamizawa act hostile towards those unaffected. And what's proof that someone was effected by said fog? Take a look at the insane look on their face, as well as the red eyes (with the same-colored pupils but now narrowed), and sometimes even blood running down their cheeks from their insane eyes, as if they were Tears of Blood. And what makes it scarier? Those effected by the fog are just as crazy as characters were when infected with the Hinamizawa Syndrome in earlier portions of the anime, with insane zombification added to the terror. Brrr...
Eiko Shimamiya. The music itself is quite lovely and very catchy. But... the translations were truly scarring. Prime example being "The raindrops turn into droplets of blood and travel down my cheeks, If there’s no place for me to return to anywhere anymore" from Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. Yes, this is the opening of an anime that is basically made of Pure Nightmare Fuel. Go on, click it.
The above has a music video of its own.
And let's not forget "Naraku No Hana," which is just as pretty to listen to, provided you don't look up the translation.
Higurashi anime OST in general has really scary music in it. Tatari, Giwaku, Senkou... the list goes on.
The main theme from the anime OST makes you just tense and shiver all on its own. So naturally they play it in every allready scary and disturbing scene. Don't click if it's dark.
When the Sonozaki twins were younger, they liked to pretend to be each other. One night, when Shion was pretending to be Mion—the Sonozaki heir—the family elders took Shion (believing she was Mion) and gave her a tattoo to mark her status as the next Family Head, Mion. Since there was no way to remove the tattoo and give it to the real future Head, Shion and Mion felt compelled to play along and assume each others' lives and names permanently.