Visual Novel: Higurashi: When They Cry aka: Higurashino Naku Koroni
Welcome to Hinamizawa.
"Whoever finds this note, please uncover the truth. That's all I ask."
The year is 1983. When Keiichi Maebara and his family move to the sleepy little rural village of Hinamizawa, everything seems peaceful and rustic at first. But Keiichi quickly learns that there is more to the four girls of the school's game club than meets the eye... and more to the town as well. Revelation follows revelation, and brutal murder follows brutal murder in this enigmatic tale told from a variety of viewpoints and scenarios. Just what links the scenarios together?The first four chapters focus on the cycles of paranoia and death that plague the main characters. The fifth to eighth chapters, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, delves deeper into the causes of the repeating scenarios and their inevitable conclusions and the struggle to defy fate. The fandisc, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei, takes place as three sidestories after the main plot. A fourth, anime-only installment, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira is a series of light hearted fanservice laden OVAs that are outside of continuity.Higurashi consists of several different story arcs with most arcs beginning similarly but ending differently. If watched or read out of order, it can raise many questions about what is going on. See The Other Wiki's entry for Higurashi to get the order the manga are supposed to be read in. The anime can be watched in order (episode one first), with Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai being season two.There are also several short, manga-only arcs, usually placed before or after the main story and introducing new characters, while retaining the typical atmosphere of the series. These arcs were adapted with some new ones for the Nintendo DS under the title Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kizuna (2008). The sound novels also had an Updated Re-release for PS2 named Matsuri (2007), with the original final arc (Matsuribayashi-hen) left out and replaced by an alternate ending (Miotsukushi-hen), as well as two additional arcs. The ports turn the games into bona-fide Visual Novels with choices and routes rather than independent successive arcs like the original version.Two Live Action Adaptations were made, titled Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (2008) and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Chikai (2009), which adapt the first and sixth novel, respectively.An OVA called Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak, based on Ryukishi07's short story, was released in 2013.Part of the When They Cry series of visual novels by 07th Expansion, which also includes Umineko: When They Cry. The sound novels/games have been translated and are available for download in English, while an English version of the visual novel has been licensed for a Western release on Steam. The games can also be bought off Desura.A new Higurashi visual novel, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Hou has been announced, introducing a new character. It will contain:
The first ever script version of the unreleased work "Hinamizawa Teiryuujo" (Hinamizawa Bus Stop) that was the precursor to "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni";
The extra story that was written at the time of announcement of Higurashi Daybreak, "Higurashi Outbreak";
A new arc written specially for this, "Higurashi Outbreak: Kamikanshi-hen".
Short summaries of each arc are available on the When They Cry article.
Absence of Evidence: Rena noticed that the bottle of shoyu in Rika and Satoko's house was missing, and deduced the possibility that they had visited the Sonozaki estate that night with an empty shoyu bottle and been kidnapped.
Accidental Innuendoinvoked: In the Onikakushi VN, during the festival the club members try finding something cute to bring to Rena. Keiichi goes somewhere else to show her his, and she comes back all dizzy and blushing. She then comments on the cuteness of Keiichi's "little fur seal"; cue Mion and Satoko's violent retaliation on Keiichi. He showed her a seal-shaped key holder he made himself when he was a child.
The Houjou kids are called Satoshi and Satoko'', although the kanjis are different (Sato-shi 悟史 and Sa-to-ko 沙都子)
Miyo Takano and Professor Hifumi Takano. Hifumi can be written as 一二三 (123), while Miyo is written as 三四 (34), which continues the sequence. Would be a stretch, except that it's pointed out in the anime when the two characters first meet. In the Visual Novel, it practically beats you over the head with that. Numerous times it says that Hifumi (1-2-3) started counting, and Miyo (3-4) will keep counting afterwards.
Almost Kiss: A very creepy example in Onikakushi, when Rena talks to Keiichi while holding her billhook. It may be Keiichi's hallucination though.
Arc Words: "Uso da!" ("Liar!"), considering its relevance to the theme and the fact that, whenever someone says it, the world is pretty much doomed.
Similarly, "I'm sorry." If a character hears someone else say it, especially if they can't see the person who says it, then someone is either about to snap or, more likely, already has. Indeed, the poem at the beginning of Onikakushi-hen underlines the secondary theme through the series of atonement.
Talk of or questions of belief also crop up a lot.
"If you are reading this, please uncover the truth… that is my only wish" (written by Keiichi, Akasaka and Shion, successively)
Art Evolution: Between all three seasons of the anime. Also applies for the sound novels. It's justified in the remakes since it's a different art crew, but within the remakes the Playstation 2 games different from the Nintendo DS ones. In the manga, each arc is drawn by a different author, so the styles will vary noticeably.
Asshole Victim: Several victims in certain arcs, such as Rina, who is shamelessly planning to swindle Rena's father for everything he's got.
In Tatagoroshi-hen, Ooishi attributes Rina's murder/mutilation to the Sonozaki family for embezzling money and drugs, then dismisses it as "trash taking out trash".
Houjou Teppei, Satoko's abusive uncle, and co-conspirator along with Rina to blackmail Rena's father.
The Atoner: Keiichi in the appropriately-named Atonement chapter.
Audio Adaptation: Before the anime and Matsuri we had a drama CD. Higurashi still few drama CDs coming out though.
Ax-Crazy: Forgone conclusion when Hinamizawa Syndrome takes effect. Special notice goes to Shion in Meakashi-hen.
Beach Episode: Shyness-Exposing Chapter in the recently animated adaptation of Higurashi Rei (To be fair, that was more like a Public Pool Episode).
Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The real life Marco Polo Bridge Incident is mentioned as occurring because the missing soldier was a draftee from Hinamizawa. Since this would mean Hinamizawa Syndrome indirectly started the Second Sino-Japanese War, it's a motivation for the government to cover the disease up.
Berserk Button: If all the berserk buttons were on a berserk keyboard, then this series is the cat that falls asleep on that keyboard.note Also, the keyboard is on fire.
Don't hurt Satoko in front of Keichi or Satoshi or you'll be killed.
Don't demean Oyashiro-Sama in front of Rena or you'll be stalked.
Don't insult Satoshi or his death, insult the Houjos, or hurt Satoko in front of Shion or you'll be tortured.
Don't do anything to Satoshi's room in front of Satoko or she'll go nuts.
The only one that doesn't result in bloodshed is Mion's, which is don't bring the resentment against the Houjos into the school.
Beware the Nice Ones: Some of the perceived nice ones have faultier wiring than others. Though, granted, the less-nice ones go crazy at various points, too, so it's closer to Beware Everyone.
Big Damn Heroes: Akasaka saving the day. Less seriously, Tomitake/Oishi/Irie (together with Keiichi, the "Heavenly Kings of Darkness") swooping in on surfboards in the middle of a pool scene to save Keiichi from having his swimsuit removed. Oishi ends up summoning a squad of fully-armed riot police to help, which storms in after their truck bursts through the pool fence.
There's also one in Minagoroshi-hen with the club members, but it doesn't go as nicely.
Big Screwed-Up Family: The Sonozaki family seems this way initially, but later arcs show that they're not quite as bad as they looked at first.
Bishōnen: Satoshi and Keiichi. They are both tall, slender, have delicate features, and big eyes; as well as being quite handsome.
Keiichi has pulled off the "Bishie Sparkle" trick a few times. Notably in the first Picture Drama which came out before the anime.
Bittersweet Ending: The PS2 version's Miotsukushi-henwhere Hanyuu is accidentally shot and killed by the Banyu.
The DS exclusive Kageboshi-hen. Unlike Someutsushi-hen, Natsumi manages to snap out of her Hinamizawa Syndrome thanks to her friend Chisato and marries Akira some time later, but Tomoe is dead, Natsumi`s family is still dead, and Natsumi is still recovering from the trauma.)
How about the ending to Matsuribayashi-hen? The main characters survive, but Satoshi is still comatose and we don't know whether he'll ever recover, though Irie does believe there is some hope.
The one-shot chapter Hinageshi-hen. After spending a few months in a prep school in Nagoya, Mion returns with Hinamizawa Syndrome symptoms and various misunderstandings make her think her friends have forsaken her, before she collapses with a fever. Then she wakes up surrounded by her friends, the misunderstandings are cleared and she sheds tears of relief while smiling happily. All is well that ends well. Except she is actually comatose in a hospital room after the Hinamizawa disaster and is living happily in her dreams.
Bleached Underpants in-universe: Keiichi understands that his father is a landscape artist, but it's implied during a business party that at least some of his commercial success has come from Doujinshi products in which the subjects keep their socks on.
At one point Rika commits suicide in front of Shion, by holding a knife to the wall, and slamming her neck into it. It's a lot more graphic in the anime adaptation, since the visual nover was limited to only describing it and using a blood graphic.
Similarly many other suicides involve the victims mysteriously scratching open their own necks with their fingers.
In Hinamizawa there's a ghost story about an old village ritual (that's used for some of the murders) that involved the villagers disemboweling the victim as torture, and showing them their own guts on the day of the yearly festival. This eventually happens to Rika in some of the later chapters.
Bloodier and Gorier: The manga goes into much greater lengths to show the horror of the murders than the anime. That includes the datailed depiction of Rika's evisceration by Takano in Minagoroshi, as well as her mother's vivisection and the punishments of the Orphanage of Fear (which were both only implied even in the sound novel) in Matsuribayashi.
Bodyguard Betrayal: The Yamainu were supposed to be protecting Rika, as far as she knew, not killing her.
And ironically, Takano is betrayed by the very same Yamainu in the last arc.
Body Sushi: Shion in one of Keiichi's dream sequences from the first episode of Kira.
Bonus Episode: Accompanying the first season DVDs was Nekogoroshi-hen (Cat Killing Chapter), a single episode scenario based on a light novel.
Book Ends: Well, not exactly. The series is divided into chapters, with the first scene referencing back not to the final scene but the climactic scene of that chapter. (For instance, Keiichi loses it, and starts swinging the baseball bat, killing Rena and her friend.
Borrowed Catchphrase: Keiichi says "I want to take it home!" in Watangashi-hen part one (episode 5) to Shion (really Mion at the time) when he sees her working as a scantily clad waitress she responds by punching him.
Both Takano and Hanyuu say Nipah at one point.
Bowdlerise: In the PS2 remake, all instances of red blood were censored into being dark colored or blue, due to CERO reclassifying its rating system, requiring the change to ensure the game got a D rating (17+ ) instead of a Z rating (18+ ).(In fact, the game was partially responsible for the creation of the Z rating.) The red blood was restored for the DS remakes.
The scene that leads to the one where Satoko pushes Keiichi over a bridge is different in the different adaptations. In the original sound novel, she's stark naked. In the remakes and manga, she has a towel on. In the anime, she has a towel on for most of the scene then goes and gets clothing, thus changing the way the scenes after it play out compared to the other adaptations. Manga Gamer, the company that releases the games translated, was going to put a towel on her due to Lolicon related reasons but in the end decided not to.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Minagoroshi-hen, Mion and Keiichi break the fourth wall to explain some mahjongg stuff, and Rika says that Takano "lost them a lot of viewers" by not putting on a cat costume.
Mion: Hmm... I would love to show people a movie of this technique... But unfortunately I can't do that in a sound novel! Rika: I have no idea who Mii is talking to... Keiichi: Why are you looking at the camera, Rika-chan?
Hell, they even break the Big Bad by showing us a damned flashback. Poor Takano.
Broken Aesop: Sort of about the dam. If we unite and struggle, even a small village like ours can stop an unfair project from the state! Except what stopped the dam project wasn't the villagers' struggle but the actions of Tokyo, who didn't want their military project to be jeopardized, and the murder of the dam construction manager by his own workers. The aesop applies better to Rika's struggle to break fate and to stop the Great Hinamizawa Disaster from happening, though.
Call Back: Happens often, which is made easier by the structure of the story. Notably, in Minagoroshi, Keiichi's mom says that she was affraid Keiichi would come up with a plan to murder Satoko's uncle and would ask her advice to commit a perfect crime. Of course, Keiichi thinks that's stupid and he would never do that.
Many characters under the influence of Hinamizawa Syndrome gain this as well, to go with their paranoia.
Chekhov's Gun: Protagonist Mion constantly carries around a gun in a very visible holster, and, in a subversion, never, ever uses it. The manga reveals that it's an airsoft gun.
She did use it in the manga once, though as a joke, in Onikakushi-hen.
The gun was edited out of Mion's character art in the PS2 ports of the game.
More so noticeable in the sound novels, where quite a number of her poses show it, and manga.
Three very important ones are in the Cotton Drifting chapter. The whole "demon inside me" dialogue at face value is just complete BS'ing (she says it with face value intentions as well). However, if the viewer interprets it as a metaphor (not her intention), it's actually one of the biggest clues as to what's really going on. A borderline Fridge Brilliance grade example. The second important "gun"? Ooishi's findings about the body in the barrel. The third "gun" is what Rika says about those who enter the ritual shrine. Its a big hint about the true nature of Oyashiro.
The syringe in the Eye Opening Chapter. Namely the contents as revealed in the Festival Music Chapter. Major hint to the Hate Plague.
Cloudcuckoolander: Applies somewhat to Rena, as her thought process is often adorable but weird.
Takano later falls into this.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Main reason why the Eye Opening chapter is so infamous. MO (mode of operation) for Shion in said chapter and Cotton Drifting. Ironically, was also on the receiving end in one of the series' more infamous scenes (also shown in Eye Opening).
Compressed Adaptation: The first season of the anime, which squeezes 6 sound novels in 26 episodes. It does cover all the important aspects of the plot, but many details, buildup elements and bits of Character Development were left out, making the story look kind of rushed.
Conspicuous CG: Don't tell me you didn't think that watermill stood out…
Contralto of Danger: In the anime adaptation, Rika's voice deepens drastically during scenes where she drops her cute facade, and lets her cynical persona from reliving a Stable Time Loop slip through. It's played for fear and mystery.
Contrived Coincidence: while some concidences have an actual reason to happen like the murders always happening the day/night of the festival since it's basically a "safe day" to kill someone, many situations primarily result from an incredibly bad luck. The most blatant being Keiichi wishing Takano, Irie and Ooishi's death, and the Hinamizawa disaster, the exact day before they all happen, making him think he was the cause of it.
It kinda worked in Tsumihoroboshi-hen, where the positions of the two character in question are switched. It only kinda worked because she had already cooled down for the most part by that point, or at the very least, is no longer insane.
Could Have Avoided This Plot: Even if the characters don't figure out how, they still seem to realize that there was a way, since most of the arcs end with the main characters lamenting how pointless all the fighting feels like it was.
Covert Pervert: In Rei Rena seems to have a bit of an attachment towards Keiichi's "Furry Seal".
When Keiichi unintentionally flashes the girls, Mion is flustered, however the other three girls blatantly stare at it for a minute. Satoko even has a little smile by the end of it.
Despair Event Horizon: Keiichi is a Laughing Mad wreck in an insane asylum in the ending of Tatarigoroshi-hen, and all of the abuse he went through in Watanagashi-hen takes a toll on him until he hallucinates himself into a heart attack in a horrifying scene. In addition, when Mion is found at the end of Taraimawashi-hen, or Satoko in Yakusamashi-hen, she's practically in a vegetative state. Akira is stated to have suffered a Taraimawashi-esque breakdown at the end of of Someutsushi-hen.
Diabolus Ex Machina: The alternate ending of Meakashi-hen, found in the DS remake. (In this version, Keiichi realizes Shion is disguising herself as Mion, which causes her to go L5 and claw out her throat, killing herself. Mion and Keiichi recover, and decide to move away to Tokyo together to escape the pain, and are at ease. Happy ending? Wrong. As Keiichi sits at a park bench while waiting for Mion, someone comes up to him, and when Mion comes back, she finds Keiichi's dead body.)
Distant Finale: Both subverted twice and played straight. The first episode in the second season is a "bad end" distant finale; the very end of the final episode has a 'distant finale' that takes place in the past... sort of. There is controversy over whether the woman who talks to little Miyo and thus sets right what once went wrong is a time travelling adult Rika, or Bernkastel of Umineko, or both, as per the popular theory.
It might even be neither. It could be Frederica Bernkastel, who might not be either Rika or Bernkastel.
The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Big Bad was in every single arc, and as far as the viewer was concerned, seemed to have no chance of being the villain. After all, it is extremely difficult to suspect a victim.
Except that there is evidence pointing to her from the very first arc, starting with the fact that her body was found, making it two murders, when every previous time it had been a murder and a disappearance. Not to mention her bizarre behavior in Tatarigoroshi-hen and elsewhere.
Doing In the Wizard: Only partly. There is no such thing as "Oyashiro-sama's curse" and the only thing linking the mysterious deaths is a disease that makes the infectees paranoid and violent. However the footsteps and apologies that characters hear are real, and Oyashiro-sama does exist. So do Time Travel and Alternate Universes.
Downer Ending: Half of the original arcs have one, but the PS2 only Tsukiotoshi-hen takes the cake and runs away with it.
Driven to Suicide: Happens a fews time in the series. Pre-series, Rena tries to commit suicide by slashing her throat open (she slit her wrists in the anime though). Outside of the anime, instead of simply falling off of a roof, Shion in Meakashi-Watangashi fell onto a roof but decided to fall off after rethinking what she had done. In the same arc, Rika decides to drive a knife into her neck. In Yoigoshi-henAkira was driven to suicide by his overwhelming debt, but couldn't go through with it. The group he was with did.
Shion also commits suicide in the hospital she was admitted to in the manga and VN versions of Tatarigoroshi-hen after the gas outbreak.
Drown The Dog: Just in case you had any doubts that Natsumi's grandmother had gone completely off the deep end when you see the paper charms in the front yard, once Natsumi goes into her house, she finds her grandmother drowning puppies in an effort to create a scapegoat onto which Oyashiro-sama's curse could be directed. Granted, this is right around the point where Natsumi herself snaps, so it may or may not be narrated accurately, but the omake at the end of the manga seems to suggest that it did indeed happen.
Drowning My Sorrows: Rika drinks wine despite being underage, as seen in the second season. A TIPS in the game confirms that she drinks to get drunk.
Dummied Out: The English version of the sound novel has several songs, the Music Room, a mini-game, and the Staff Room cut out due to copyright issues.
Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The French dub has a pretty bad case in Onikakushi - in his dialogues with Mion in episode 4, he tells her that he found a needle in the ohagi and near the end asks her what is in the syringe. Originally though, he doesn't explicitly mentions the needle and only asks what they intend to do to him. In episode 25 we learn that the needle was tabasco sauce and the syringe was a marker pen. Thus in the original version, Mion's lack of reaction is due to the fact she doesn't get he is not seeing the same thing as her; in the French dub, it no longer makes sense. The guys who translated the anime obviously didn't watch it until the end first…
Dying as Yourself: At the very end of Meakashi-hen, Shion has a moment of genuine regret and apologizes to everyone as she falls to her death.
Dysfunction Junction: Everyone has a tragic backstory and/or psychological issues, even Detective Delicious. Satoko and Rika lost their parents (or more). Rena and especially Satoko have psychological issues related to their families; Shion's are related to losing someone she loved in a very torturous experience. There's a reason Keiichi's family had to move. Detective Ooishi lost a close partner and vows revenge. And so forth. Most of these characters reach Break the Cutie proportions.
And what about Irie? It goes into more detail in the manga, but in short his father suffered a brain injury and started beating his wife, then got into a fight with a gang, which ultimately got him killed. This inspired Irie to become a brain surgeon, and started dissecting people while they were still alive, to prove his father's innocence. Takano uses this to blackmail him into dissecting their first Hinamizawa Syndrome victim's brain, and later on Satoko, but this was averted with the help of Rika
Early-Bird Cameo: Hanyuu in the third episode of Kai (her actual appearance to the viewers is in Minagoroshi-hen, and her first appearance to the cast, aside from Rika, is halfway through Matsuribayashi-hen) is heard talking to Rika off-screen, and later appears in the same episode as a silhouettebehind Rena and Keiichi◊.
She appears earlier, during the Atonement Chapter, in a manga omake.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Almost every individual arc has a bad ending, but the characters do, in the end, manage to stop the chain of deaths.
The Ending Changes Everything: The final scene of the anime, which introduced a character who either had never been seen before in the show before or was a grown-up, time-traveling Rika just to make sure your recently unscrewed mind gets screwed all over again. It makes slightly more sense in the original sound novels.
She is actually Bernkastel, who is all of the past Rikas together. She's a witch.
Evil Costume Switch: Miyo Tanako gets a fancy-looking black outfit once she's revealed as the one who's been targeting Rika. When she's not conducting the Yamainu behind the scenes, she wears her normal clothes.
Evil Laugh: Over and over and over again, complete with creepy face contortions.
Also several of the arc names- most notably Tsumihoroboshi-hen (Atonement Chapter) and Minagoroshi-hen (Massacre Chapter).
What's interesting is that it carries a double meaning in both languages Higurashi can be translated to "cicada" (蜩) or "day-to-day life" (日暮し), and Naku can mean to cry (as in call), cry (as in weep) or none/nothing. So the title from Japanese can be "When the Cicadias Cry" or "When the day-to-day life is no more". In English "cry" still carries two meanings, to weep or to call.
Expy: Chie-sensei, of Ciel-senpai in Tsukihime, with permission from Type-Moon. This is lampshaded in the Pool Episode with Chie whipping out imitation Black Keys in the form of wooden T-squares. In fact, this is one of her weapons in the doujin game Higurashi Daybreak, and she can be selected as wearing Ciel's outfit.
Keichi in the animated version looks just like Kira of Gundam SEED, having a similar hairstyle, same purple eyes, and even the SAME voice actor!
In one of the cast review sessions, Chei-sensei was acting like Ciel-senpai when the lights were off and no one could see the copyright infringement.
The Faceless: The appearanced of Keiichi's parents aren't shown in the novels at all, and in the anime we just get their faces from the mouth down. The manga do show their entire faces, but they conflict with what little we see in the anime; for example, nothing is really notable about the bottom half of Mr. Maebara's face in the anime, but in the manga, he's got a beret and a Frenchy goatee. And is in much better shape.
Plus their voices and personalities don't seem to match.
Not to mention Rena in the end of Minagoroshi, though slightly less "dignity" and more "laughing in your murderer's face about how her plan is stupid and she's stupid". She even uses the same crazy laugh from season one, for the only time in season two. The fact that Takano put a bullet in Rena rather quickly gives the implication that Rena struck a nerve.
Fair Play Who Dunnit: Despite being a horror story, all of the questions can be solved before The Reveal. There are some hiccups with Knox's Decalogue (Hinamizawa Syndrome not being one since its mode of action is actually quite simple), but the story is mostly compliant.
Fanservice with a Smile: Shion's work uniform at the Angel Mort Cafe. There's official art with all the other girls wearing it, too.
Fantastic Aesop: Defied in the last chapter of the OVA-only Dice-killing chapter. When Rika is angsting because she chose what might be the worse world, Rena tells her about how choosing the kind of world she lives on is something beyond her choice and then goes off to deliver a different, valid aesop about how the multiple tragedies they faced have made them better people.
Feminine Women Can Cook: Rena, Rika, but also Mion and to a lesser extent Satoko, are quite skilled in cooking. They all have their reasons though. The man of the group on the other hand, is closer to a Lethal Chef when he tries to cook something more elaborate than instant noodles; Rena's father is also a dreadful cook, but he still tries. Actually, no man can cook in this series.
Festival Episode: In every arc, except Tatarigoroshisince Keiichi is busy committing a murder that night; things usually start to go downhill after it.
A Fête Worse than Death: You know that cheerful summertime festival these townspeople have? Well, it wasn't always cotton that they tore up…
Doubles as Fridge Horror very much when you consider that cute girl Hanyuu was the first sacrifice
Fingore: This is common. And also, the opening song has a line that translates roughly as "I'll cut off your fingers and leave them in the forest."
Fight Unscene: In the final All-Star Review, Keiichi manages to "appear" without a character sprite by turning out the lights, leaving all graphics in blackness. What follows is the most spectacular battle in all of VN history, narrated blow-by-blow!
Filler Arc: Yakusamashi-hen, the first arc of the anime's second season, is a mash up of two Visual-Novel-only arcs and various other events from other arcs left out of the first season. Unlike most examples, it was a necessary and justified use, as the author felt that information left out of the first season would cause large plot holes in the second, and wrote a short arc to fill in the gaps.
Five-Man Band: This series is slightly unusual in that some characters tend to move around.
Flashback Twist: In one of the latter arcs, the famous Tsumihoroboshi-hen or Atonement Chapter, it is revealed in Keiichi's flashbacks that it was actually him who was the insane one in the first arc and that Mion and Rena were the sane ones. Poor Rena, offering her arms out to Keiichi even as he's about to bash her head in.
Foreshadowing: The TIPS in the sound novel very often serve as this. For example, Satoko having pushed her parents off the cliff is hinted as early as Tatarigoroshi. And in the early TIPS of Tsumihoroboshiwe have the first discussion between Rika and Hanyū; but without knowing who and what the latter is.
In the sound novels during Onikakushi, Keiichi hears someone take a breath behind him, and identifies it as a woman's. When he turns around, no one is there, but he could feel a presence. We learn later on that people who are as high as Level 3 can hear footsteps, or even someone speak—this someone is Hanyuu.
Food Porn: An almost literal example. Keiichi once shamed the pitcher of a rival baseball team by saying he likes Angel Mort desserts because they are like cute girls and he eats them in a defiling manner.
For Want of a Nail: The doll in the Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen arcs. It shows up again, but this time, the choice was the right one. In fact, this trope was the point of the parallel arc system used.
Freak Out: Often. Shion goes through layers of them.
The Gad Fly: Played for laughs with Mion who gets plenty of amusement from yanking Keiichi's chain. Possibly motivated by how bad she is at expressing her true feelings for him. Also her punishment games. Shion acts like a slightly darker incarnation (favorite target being Mion and Keiichi) as her normal personality.
"Takano and Hanyuu, were you listening to what Mion said? We don't play Old Maid. Just Old Geezer. Takano laughed it off as being the same but it is a completely different game. After all, if one adds the missing card that is taken out in a game of Old Geezer, it becomes a game without losers. After adding Hanyuu, our missing card the world became a world free of losers. It is the height of folly to purposely take one card out of the game. This world doesn't need a loser."
Gas Chamber: The Hinamizawa gas disaster is revealed to be a cover-up for the government implementing this on the village.
Generation Xerox: In the manga Keiichi looks similar to his father and shares his Hot-Blooded tendencies. The twins mother and grandmother share similarly goofy personalities and they all had finger nails torn off. In looks only, Rena resembles her mother and apparently has some of her fathers personality. Satoko and Satoshi both resemble their mother in the manga. Rika both looks like her mother and almost exactly looks like Hanyuu's daughter.
Genre Shift: More like Genre Roulette! Between Slice of Life Comedy, Drama, Horror, and Action-Adventure, to name a few. A good rule of thumb is to note what happen when a heavy object hits someone's head. If huge amounts of blood splash out of the head, it is horror. If the victim starts hilariously yelling, it is comedy. If it's bleeding a bit, and needs a bandage, it is drama, if he faints without bleeding, it is action-adventure.
Genre Blind: In "Watanagashi-hen" and "Meakashi-hen" during the confrontation with Mion, the possibility of Mion's twin sister Shion impersonating Mion never occurs to Keiichi or Rena even though twin switches are a staple of TV shows and comic books involving identical twins. Granted, Keiichi and Rena falsely believe the killings are about protecting the sanctity of the Saiguden, and while it's conceivable that Mion—as the family successor—would punish those who disrespected Oyashiro, it makes no sense for Shion to commit murder in Oyashiro-sama's name.
Genre-Busting: No really, good luck explaining in a few words what this series is exactly.
Genre Savvy: In Tatarigoroshi-hen, Mion and Rika comment to Keiichi after his parents return home about typical harem visual novels.
Mion: After all, a night without your parents around is the basic situation of bishojo games! Rika: He earned many points and entered a certain route for sure.
Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Consider for a moment the difference between the main characters' eyes and Droopy-tan's. Also, this one may be at work on Shion at various points. When Rena, for instance, goes insane, her eyes just go blank, and when Keiichi does, his pupils shrink, whereas a lot of times when Shion has an episode, her eyes narrow to an almost grotesque degree.
Takano and Rika tend to a more ambiguous Kubrick Stare. With Takano it's more subtle, but usually accompanied with a musical sting. With Rika it would be subtle, except that it's so extremely out of character.
Gorn: There are quite a few grewsome deaths in this series, but the description of Rika's suicide in the sound novel makes it the most disturbing of all. Shion doesn't only describe it with all the juicy details, she describes it as the most magnificent sight on earth and finds Rika's blood "beautiful".
"Groundhog Day" Loop: The real reason why everyone constantly dies and comes back to life, and this has been going on for many, many, many years. The loops vary in length, but there could have been up to two thousand six hundred of them. Unlike the typical loop, however, these function more as alternate dimensions to be travelled between than any kind of Time Travel. And yes, this is a plot point in Umineko: When They Cry.
Guess Who I'm Marrying: Almost happens to Rena's father and his girlfriend, who turns out to be a yakuza moll trying to take him for everything he has.
Guide Dang It: Getting 100% Completion in Kizuna without a guide is virtually impossible, due to all the hidden choices, scenes, and C Gs that the game only vaguely hints at.
Getting the secret bonus ending in the original game demands that you go back to the puzzle section of Matsuribayashi after you finish the game, and read the 50 fragments in a precise order. It's very unlikely you will get it on your first (well, second) try. More details here. This ending was included in the anime and the manga, though, making it less secret.
Half-Human Hybrid: Traditional folklore's explanation for Hinamizawa Syndrome is from crossbreeding villagers with demons.
Happy Place: The plot of the one-shot chapter Hinageshi-hen, focusing on Mion after the Hinamizawa disaster.
Harem Genre: Subverted: despite the initial premise making it seem like the series belongs in this category (a guy who's in a club which otherwise only consists of cute girls), it's quickly revealed that this is not the case. Furthermore, while Mion and Rena are the only girls to show any real romantic interest in Keiichi, neither of them end up with him, since in the end the series' main message is about The Power of Friendship and never giving up.
Hate Plague: The other major component of the show's premise.
Hellish Pupils: The "cat eyes" in Onikakushi, as well as about ten other different types of iris contortions.
In the manga, and sound novels, their eyes are often (different artists draw it differently) a mix between "depressed" eyes, and glowing eyes.
Amusingly, the girls also get the glowing eyes and ominous lighting when they're about to inflict some humiliating-but-funny "punishment game" on Keiichi.
In Episode 15 of Kai, Hanyu gains these when confronting Takano, making them heavenly pupils.
Which is ironic, since she is the only one of two characters to meet a god and actually recognize it.
Hope Spot: Happens in Tsumihoroboshi-hen, which seems like a happy ending at first, but gets worse right afterward, leading into the Darkest Hour right after that. More notably is, Minagoroshi-hen, which is chock full of them, and though it ends on a depressing note, it renews Rika's hope and shows her how she can change her fate.
Of course, with Minagoroshi-hen, it can be assumed that most fans weren't fooled. The title essentially MEANS "Kill 'em All." In English, it's literally "Massacre chapter"
Hormone-Addled Teenager: Mion in the manga, and Keiichi...probably. Shion might also count, given that hormones aren't tied exclusively to lust, but also high emotions and bad decisions.
Hufflepuff House: The Kimiyoshi family is the only one of the three families that never plays any important part in the story. If you except its leader's abduction and murder by Shion in two arcs. We never even see any of its members other than Kiichirō.
Subverted in the Kizuna arcs Someutsushi-hen and Kagebōshi-hen, where Natsumi Kimiyoshi is the main character.
Humiliating Wager: The club often hands out these kinds of penalties to the loser of the game of the day. One memorable result of this is Keiichi being forced to walk home in a maid outfit.
Hyper Awareness: Rena. She figures out exactly how Satoko and Rika got kidnapped because there was an empty bottle of soy sauce on their table, for crying out loud.
In the game, the empty bottle is stashed away. She still figures it out based on that and their dinner for the day being in the fridge.
Identical Panel Gag: This omake in the Watanagashi manga, where the girls think "Keiichi" with totally unrelated words, for some reason. (Translation error?) Also happens during the Millionaire game in the first chapter.
Idiot Ball: Often carried by Keiichi, as at the end of the second arc when he knows one of his friends is crazy and out to kill him, and the cops have warned him to look out if he ever sees her again... then he just walks outside and chats with her when she's standing creepily outside his house.
In the anime at the end of second arc, he goes into a creepy dungeon filled with torture implements with a murderer AFTER she explains to him that she murdered a bunch of people, including two kids. That's Darwin Awards material.
Well, really that whole moment was both carried by Rena and Keiichi. Keiichi just held the ball a bit longer. Let's see— Mion, who's actually Shion, who was originally born Mion...yeah, long story just killed a bunch of people, then asks to be alone with Keiichi for thirty minutes. AND THEY ALLOW IT. Later she's smacked him over the head with a large rock and attempted to torture then murder him and then decides to let him live but warned him never to come near her again if he ever sees her...ONLY TO NONCHALANTLY CHAT IT UP WITH HER A FEW NIGHTS LATER WHEN HE SEES HER OUTSIDE OF HIS HOUSE AND GET HIMSELF STABBED BY HER IN THE PROCESS. That really is Darwin Awards material, man.
Justified mostly: the characters are often aware of what they're doing, but choose to ignore the stupidity of it and proceed anyway, out of friendship, pride, revenge or so on.
Entirely justified. Not trusting your friends just triggers the Hate Plague and makes everything worse. Blindly trusting your friends, especially when you have every reason not to, is one of the most important keys to finally escaping June 1983.
There's a lot of Shmion pictures that involve this.
In the Blood: Remember how Shion had to peel her fingernails off for Satoshi, after which Mion did likewise? Well, the TIPS reveal that a similar situation happened earlier, except with their mother and Oryou. Expect this one ended well.
Also, the belief of some people (apparently including the Sonozaki family) that the people of Hinamizawa are descended from man-eating demons.
A later tip shows near the end of Matsuribayashi that this is 100% true, assuming Hanyuu's horns weren't proof enough.
Rika: We have to hurry up and pull down Keiichi's swim trunks!
The anime had a habit of opening each new Arc with a random scene from later in the arc (or from a different one entirely). Such as the Cotton Drifting Arc, which starts with Rika stabbing herself in the neck while Shion watches. Then the theme song plays, then they cut to the funny few minutes before the murders start.
It's for a Book: Keichi while planning the perfect murder. Later Rika uses this to find out who's behind her death.
Though we find out later that not only did all of those deaths have other explanations, but all but one of them were the deaths which occur in every single universe; he didn't even wish anyone unusual to death!
Tsumihoroboshi-hen in particular, since the Ryushiki07 left an afterward in the previous volume questioning whether a murder can be justifiable, whether a murderer can be sympathetic. Then he answers the question by giving us a Sympathetic Murderer and two Asshole Victims. But the discourse is pretty much abandoned when Rena's paranoid dementia spirals into engineering a mass murder-suicide.
Just in Time: Happens twice, The first time is in Minagoroshi-hen, where the rest of the group arrives in time to save Rika and Satoko. It doesn't end well... The second time ends better, with Akasaka arriving just in time to show how much he's been level grinding in Bad Ass. And it was awesome.
Kaizo Trap: If you consider the sound novels as video games then the epilogue of Tsumihoroboshi is as close to this as can be. Keiichi made Rena snap out of her madness, nobody dies except Tomitake and Takano, all is well that ends well! Then comes the final TIP, 20 years later, revealing that just after that Rika was killed and everybody died in the disaster.
Karma Houdini: Nomura and the opposing faction from Tokyo, who were behind supposed Big BadTakano Miyo and were driving them on when they wavered, apparently get away without anything more than the failure of their power play, presumably by making Takano their scapegoat for everything. This despite almost EVERYTHING being their fault and them having NO Freudian Excuse.
The last episode of Kai hints that the scapegoat plan might fail because Okonogi lets Takano live, and Tomitake intervenes by arranging her to receive treatment instead of being transported to Tokyo. It is still likely that the faction escapes, leaving Nomura as the new scapegoat. It is also likely that Takano was successfully made the scapegoat in other cycles where the sterilization operation failed.
The Tatarigoroshi chapter truly does Kill 'Em All - starting with the gory death of Rina, Satoko's uncle Teppei, Tomitake, Takano, Irie, Ooishi, and finally Rika are seemingly murdered one by one, until the chapter finally ends with an eruption of poisonous volcanic gases that kills off the entire population of Hinamizawa except for Keiichi. And then he dies too, although that part was cut from the anime..
One of the chapter titles, Minagoroshi-hen, quite literally means "The Kill-Everybody Chapter". And by that point in the series, it's no surprise at all.
What's more, once we finally know the whole story, it's clear in retrospect that EVERY non-final arc (save the Watanagashi / Meakashi pair) ended with the destruction of Hinamizawa, whether we saw it or not. Yes, Higurashi is not content with mere Downer Endings; it will reach back in time and push them farther down.
Knight Templar Big Brother: Keiichi, Satoshi, and eventually Shion towards Satoko. The last one is quite possibly motivated by atonement for certain infamously gruesome acts committed in the Eye Opening/Cotton Drifting arcs when she becomes aware of them. Deconstructed since everytime it occurs, tragedy strikes or nearly does so.
Large Ham: Dr. Irie gets some of this. Not to mention Keiichi when masquerading as Kei-kun.
Laughing Mad: Rena and Shion get to this point pretty quickly when it's their turns to snap. Keiichi descends into this in the epilogue of Tatarigoroshi-hen.
Let's Get Dangerous: When the best friends finally gets it together, what was a squabbling squad of broken children who were easily preyed upon becomes a tightly-knit unit that resists the Hate Plague and completely owns a crack unit of corrupt members of government (with adult help, but even they appeared useless at first).
Lost Aesop: Killing is bad! Don't ever kill people, because it is a horrible thing that will scar your soul and make you go insane. But fighting a whole army using Kalashnikovs, huge falling lumbers, and the same baseball bat that used to smash people's head with a single blow? It's perfectly OK in case your story suddenly turned into an action-adventure where mooks suddenlycan't die, just fall unconscious.
Love Hurts: In most arcs, yes it does. In Onikakushi, Keiichi mentally confesses his love to Rena… after bashing her and Mion to death while crying; Rena and Mion also had to witness the boy they loved suddenly turn paranoid and rejecting them. In Watanagashi, Keiichi not giving a doll to Mion and hurting her feelings leads her to confess to Shion and triggers the tragic events. In Meakashi, Shion's love for Satoshi and his disapearance lead her to go completely insane. In Tsumihoroboshi, Rena's father falls in love twice, and is betrayed twice, the first time by his wife, which nearly drives Rena to suicide, the second time by a Manipulative Bitch that Rena ends up killing to protect him. In Matsuribayashi, Takano's very real feelings for Tomitake are partly responsible for her Villainous Breakdown. Although in that case, that may be what saves her actually.
Love Triangle: Keiichi and the twins. Oh yes. Though it's revealed to be a subversion. Shion was never seriously interestednote If she does become interested, she goes crazy and her motivations are still about loving Satoshi, not Keiichi, and she was either doing it to hurt Mion or encourage her to act on her feelings, depending on the timeline. In Meakashi-hen, it's implied that she's attracted to Keiichi due to his similarities to Satoshi, and that makes her hate him even more. In later arcs and Higurashi Daybreak, Shion is replaced by Rena.
The Love Triangle between Keiichi, Mion, and Rena is hinted as early as Watanagashi-hen in the "doll incident." Ironically, it is Shion who goes crazy because of it even though it's Mion who is jealous.
In the Meakashi-hen manga it was revealed that Mion was also in love with Satoshi, just like Shion, though she certainly didn't make her feelings for him nearly as clear and didn't seem to feel as strongly in the first place. Of course, Mion's over him now, since she found Keiichi. Alternatively, she may have been lying in an attempt to save herself at that point.
Love Dodecahedron: So if we sum it up - Mion and Rena both love Keiichi, which may or may not be requited depending on the arc; Shion strongly loved Satoshi but also develops feelings for Keiichi in some arcs, while Mion also had feelings for Satoshi, though not as strong. There's also Satoko's implied crush on Keiichi in Tatarigoroshi. Less seriously, Shion once says that if Mion had been a guy, she might have fallen for her. She says it jokingly… or not.
Similarly, Hanyuu's image song, Nanodesu. Fantastically upbeat, cheerful, and fun Ear Worm song, with lyrics that boil down to "I'm powerless, I can't do anything".
Higurashi character songs seem to be full of this. Rika has two image songs one for her childish, cheery voice and other for her hundreds-year-old cynical voice. Ironically, the former's lyrics are depressing, while the latter's are more hopeful.
Mad Doctor: A TIPS in the games notes that Dr. Irie performed psychosurgery on unwilling subjects in the past, and a flashback in the final season of the anime has him dissecting the brain of a living patient (albeit with persuasion from the Big Bad). Takano is a little bit more literally one.
The manga adaptation of Matsuribayashi takes this further and shows Takano tried to make him vivisectSatoko. Mercifully Irie and Rika were able to outsmart Takano on this one, as Rika volunteered herself.
Takanoeagerly planned and prepared the vivisection days before it would happen in the Visual Novel.
Mafia Princess: Mion, although technically she's a yakuza princess. Shion as well; despite being effectively disowned, she's closer to the family's actual yakuza elements than Mion is.
Magical Girl: Rika and Satoko are this in Episode 2 of Kira.
The Men in Black: Beware the Janitors, for they are Anonymous, and they are Legion!
Meaningful Name: Probably accidental, but "Rena" could be short for the Spanish word "renacimiento", meaning "rebirth". Rena's old name was actually "Reina", which is a Japanese name but is also Spanish for "queen"; she changed it to "Rena" to create a new identity for herself, effectively being "reborn". Ryukishi07 is also a major fan of Final Fantasy V, and both Rena's names are possible translations for the name of the game's female lead.
Media Watchdog: PEGI was obviously sleeping when it gave the French translation 7+ rating. Explanation: They only rated the minigames. It even got an ISBN number, so apparently rest of it is treated as a book.
Mercy Kill: Takano shooting Satoko in Minagoroshi could be considered as that. Even if she let her live, the only thing awaiting her was a Fate Worse Than Death: being experimented on as a L5 Hinamizawa Syndrome patient, with all her friends dead.
Mind Screw: In general the whole air of mystery and paranoia (both of which are cleared up in the second season). A specific example - in the second arc Keiichi finds out that Mion killed a bunch of people. In the fifth arc, we're shown that it was actually Shion pretending to be Mion.
The whole idea behind the series is this, to the point where the last episode of the first season gives you a slight clue of what the hell is happening.
Mood Whiplash: Not just the anime itself, but even some of the character image songs get in on this, particularly Rena's.
One of the TIPS in the visual novel, Weekly featured article, goes from a gruesome murder article to an advertisement for a lucky charm (even the music goes from creepy to comical).
Motherly Side Plait: Akasaka's wife Yukie sports a rather impressive one. In the manga-only Onisarashi arc, Natsumi's mother is a textbook example... until she looses her plait as she starts to go insane. Or rather, as we see her go insane through Natsumi's eyes. Miyoko's mom also has one, as well as Keiichi's mom in the live adaptation.
Motive Decay: The Big Bad, Miyo.She's trying to prove her foster grandfather's work is right, but she also wants to become/destroy/ snub her nose at God, and she wants to a world where she'll be loved and she wants to know how Hinamizawa syndrome works and…( See WMG for "In Tsumihoroboshi, why did Takano give Rena those documents")
In the last arc, Nomura even lampshades that Takano doesn't really know what she wants. In the end, Takano realizes that far from making people acknowledge her grandfather's research, the Irie institution is only going to erase it. So she decides to cast "Oyashiro-sama's curse" to at least pretend being a god when burrying the research. It would also become the proof that people actually read the research and took it seriously.
Motorcycle Dominoes: Happens a lot at Angel Mort. And it's the same three punks that get pissed off.
Mukokuseki: God damn but nobody in Hinamizawa looks Japanese. Case in point, the Sonozaki twins' green hair? If mom is anything to go by that's genetic. Ditto the Houjous, who seem to have naturally straw blond hair.
And the Furude family. Father: black hair, Mother: dark bluish purple hair, Rika: same as Mother, and Ancient Relative (aka Hanyuu): light purple hair. Not to mention Rena (light auburn) and Rina (bubblegum pink).
Multiple Reference Pun: The title. The "naku" means "to cry" as in both weeping and an animal making noises. Higurashi is a type of cicada, but can also mean "everyday life"; the entire title can be translated as "when there is no everyday life."
It also applies to the English title with the multiple meanings of "cry".
Miyo correctly theorizes this applies to the name of Watanagashi festival; Wata means cotton and guts.
The French version has a very dark one with the title of the seventh novel Minagoroshi-hen (Massacre chapter), translated as "La Solution finale". It refers both to the answers given in this arc and the extermination of Hinamizawa at the end.
Episode 22 of the first season opens with an intense water pistol fight, complete with sabotaged weapons, traps, dramatic camera angles/music, and Glowing Eyes of Doom. It ended with a victory to Keiichi and Rena, who got each other at the same time.
The second episode of Kai does this with a game of tag, only even more awesome.
More generally, the club activities in the sound novel are emphasised with various booms, flashes, camera shakings and other dramatic sound effects. Even for a simple card game. They are used even more liberally during Keiichi's bullshit speeches, with the text (which is complete nonsense anyway) scrolling too fast to read!
Must Make Amends: Subverted when Shion Sonozaki kills Satoko Hojo in the underground torture chamber; she believes at first that she's helping her essentially dead boyfriend Satoshi Hojo. Then she tries to talk to his shadow that has appeared on the wall (she's gone nuts at this point obviously), when she realizes the last words of him were: Take care of my little sister [Satoko] for me. She literally pisses in her pants at the realization, but realizes she's already crossed the Moral Event Horizon and then goes off to brutally murder more people.
My God, What Have I Done?: Numerous instances. Keiichi gets one after beating Rena and Mion to death in Onikakushi-hen, and another one later on when he recalls this during Tsumihoroboshi-hen, Rena at the end of Tsumihoroboshi-hen, and Shion gets one for all of ten seconds when she remembers Satoshi asking her to look after Satoko after she murders her, and then goes on to merrily add two more bodies to her pile.
She gets another 5 seconds after she's killed everyone and has slipped off the balcony. "I'm sorry, everyone. Next time, I'll do better." * splat*
In the manga and sound novels it's played more straight. Especially when she commits suicide.
It's also heavily implied that she had an off-screen moment in the 7th novel. She was so horrified about it that Mion was the one that had to spill the beans. Also explains why she was so protective of Satako in that timeline.
My Greatest Failure: The manga adaptation of the Festival Music chapter reveals Mion's reason for not wanting to talk about Satoshi's disappearance. It was her inability to save/help him before his disappearance.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The names of the punishments in the Orphanage of Fear - namely, "the coffin", "the squashed catterpillar", "the duck that cannot drink" and "the dismembered pig". In the anime and sound novel, you can only guess vaguely what they are about. Then the manga decided to elaborate…
No Ending: The manga-only Utsutsukowashi-hen, which was cancelled after the first volume.
No Name Given: Rena and Mion's fathers, as well as Satoko and Rika's parents.
Non Standard Game Over: In the "Shion's boobs" mini-game in the sound novel, she offers to let you have a taste of her breasts if you help her, and you have the choice of accepting or refusing. If you accept, the screen turns pink and you hear Rika's mewing, before going back to the title screen. Don't think too much about it.
Noodle Incident: In the Tatarigoroshi sound novel, Mion tried something during the baseball match that is referred as a "suicide attack" and got her badly injured. We never know what she did exactly.
Keiichi also gets one in the last episode of Rei, thinking of the possibilities the magatama could be used for since the one holding one half (Rena) will fall in love with the person holding the other half.
The Noseless: Rena, Rika and Satoko are drawn without a nose in the original sound novel.
No Romantic Resolution: The story ends without Keiichi's relationship with Rena or Mion having changed at all despite blatant hints for the former and outright confirmation for the latter.
Hooked Up Afterwards: Word Of God states in an interview that it will eventually be Keiichi and Mion. Miotsukushi-hen heavily implies this, calling it "a sealed fate".
Not Quite The Right Thing: If Akasaka finishes helping out in the kidnapping case in Hinamizawa, his wife dies from falling down the stairs, something he is able to prevent if he heeds Rika's warning. In addition, Keiichi giving the doll he wins to Rena, as what seems like a kind act makes Mion sad and leads to the murders in Watanagashi and Meakashi-hen.
Unless after watching the latter you come to the conclusion that that was a bold-faced lie and the doll had nothing to do with the murders, and the claim was just another way to torture Keiichi.
It's not so much a lie as it is a more… indirect influence. If not for the doll, Mion wouldn't have poured her heart out to Shion, in turn restoking her repressed Yandere feelings for Satoshi, leading to the events of Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen.For Want of a Nail indeed.
Actually, Akasaka going home mid-case isn't what saves her, mainly because he never did that. By calling home on the first night he forgot to do so and telling her to be very careful, he saves her life. In the Visual Novel for Matsuribayashi, Okonogi was the one who fought Akasaka back with the kidnapping of the minister's grandson. If Akasaka had to rush home to save his wife, the conversation between him and Okonogi in his Big Damn Heroes moment wouldn't make sense.
Off Model: The first season is infamous for this. Doesn't help that this came to a head during what should've been a badass fight scene in the finale (you know, the episode where most series are guaranteed an Animation Bump?).
In episode 17 Rika spends an entire scene with Shmion's hair color.
Season two and the OVAs fix all of the problems with gusto.
Off to Boarding School: Shion, as seen in her flashback arc. Her first appearance has her return to Hinamizawa after breaking out.
Official Couple: Takano and Tomitake. And maybe Shion and Satoshi; it's never really made clear if Satoshi considered her as a lover or as a friend, and the whole Twin Switch thing doesn't help.
Older Than They Look: Rika is revealed to have relived the events of June 1983 for hundreds of years - she even refers to it as the "one thousand year search for a miracle" in the anime's last episode.
Ominous Pipe Organ: "Shirokiri no itadaki ~ Blanc pur" (Misty summits - Pure white), which plays during the most tense scenes of Minagoroshi-hen.
Once Is Not Enough: In Onikakushi-hen, Keiichi shoves Rena to the ground and runs, only to be beaten down by the Almighty Janitors and be unpleasantly awakened by guess who.
100% Completion: In Kizuna, the DS adaptation, in each volume, after you finish the arcs, you can go back to complete the situation tree and get alternate endings, as well as unlocking CG pictures and music.
The One Guy: Keiichi, a guy in the middle of four girls − later five, and eventually six.
Only Sane Man: Mion, despite her violent heritage, is the only club member to not suffer the effects of the Hate Plague during the course of the series. Rika says it even happened to her, but she just got killed before being able to hurt anyone in those fragments.
Orphanage of Fear: Miyo Takano (or Miyoko Tanashi) is trapped in the orphanage from hell in Matsuribayashi-hen's flashback. The manga cranks it up several thousand notches.
In the manga, the orphanage is MUCH WORSE, torture, rape, and even death are shown. You can practically call this orphanage a concentration camp.
Orphanage of Love: The plan of Miyoko's friend in Matsuribayashi is for the four of them to escape their Orphanage of Fear and find "The House of Love". Not only do they fail, being tortured and for one of them being grossly raped while another (and maybe more) being killed as punishment, it's strongly implied the House of Love doesn't even exist.
Our Hero Is Dead: Almost every arc, actually, but notably at the end of Onikakushi-hen.
A better example would be more like, Our lancer is dead, Where Miyo effectively ends the Hope Spot during Minagoroshi-hen, by shooting Keiichi during his Kirk Summation.
A scarier example is Rena's narration in the VN of Tsumihoroboshi to illustrate her Sanity Slippage. At the beginning, it's a cute pink. Then when Ooishi interrogates her it turns into a pale orange. By the time she takes the school hostage, her text has become bright red.
Pals with Oyashiro: Rika is the only person in the club in on the secret that Oyashiro and Hanyuu are the same person.
Parental Abandonment: Satoko's parents are dead, and her sometimes-appearing uncle is an abusive alcoholic. Rika doesn't have any surviving family; the two live together by themselves. Rena's mother ran off with another guy. Shmion's mother is on bad terms with their yakuza family and seldom shows up, while their father makes one appearance in the second season.
Playing with Syringes: Hinamizawa Syndrome is being tested on the villagers to see if it can create a biological weapon. The major irony with this trope being that just about all literal instances of syringes in the series are either illusory or actually meant to help the protagonists.
Please Don't Leave Me: Hanyuu says this to Rika once Rika tells her she doesn't want to repeat another worldRika is Hanyuu's only source of comfort and friendship. If she died without repeating a world then...She's dead.
Poor Communication Kills: The events of Onikakushi-hen as a whole and the last third of Tatarigoroshi-hen are a result of this.
Subverted in Tsumihoroboshi-hen: A long series of misunderstandings almost kills, but is averted at the last minute. In the Visual Novel, there are even more misunderstandings before it is averted.
The Power of Friendship: If there was ever a show to which the saying "Friends help you move, best friends help you move bodies" applied, it's this one. In a more serious example, this turns out to be the core of the story, since the power of friendship helps the main characters to Screw Destiny and stop the endless cycle of violence.
Present Day Past: The series is set in the earlier 1980s yet there are a couple things that really shouldn't be back there. The Sound novel seems to like invoking this trope for the lulz. In the Watanagashi Arc, the gang is playing the game Sympathy. (In which someone says a word and each player must write down what first come to mind. A player receives points by having the same answer as another player.) When the word is sakura (cherry blossom) Keiichi tries thinking like a girl in order to gain the lead. His answer? Cardcaptor Sakura.
Not to mention that by looking at the counter on the game shop in the Watanagashi Arc, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Duel Masters packs can be clearly seen.
The anime gets in on this action too. In the OVA, the Cat-Killing Arc, Satoko is seemingly dressed up as Shampoo.
In Meakashi Arc, Keiichi talks about end of Cold War- In a lecture about porn.
In Tsumihoroboshi Arc, someone offers a Higurashi beta for exchange of Angel Mort event ticket - 20 years early.
A Higurashi beta? In the world Higurashi takes place in? Huh? I guess it's like when Akasaka made a book similar to the series based off the events of an arc
That doll Keiichi gives everybody in one or two arcs really does resemble a Rozen Maiden.
In Minagoroshi, Keiichi mentions numerous videogames that have not existed yet when he tries to convince Komura (The baseball player) to help rescue Satoko. Some of the games he mentions are Resident Evil (1996), Metal Gear (1987), A new "Dead or Alive" coming out (The first one came out in 1996, the second one was 2000)
The thin-rimmed glasses worn by Dr. Irie are of a design that didn't get common before the mid-nineties. Early-eighties glasses were quite much uglier by today's standards (The circular frames he wears in the manga are a little closer to accurate than what appears in the anime).
Prolonged Prologue: Matsuribayashi, which is especially egregious because the previous chapter actually managed to end on a pretty epic cliffhanger.
Promotion to Opening Titles: Hanyuu. Also,Takano, although, as she's seen as a child in the opening sequence and her face is obscured, you might mistake her for Satoko until it's revealed in the relevant arc. A variation occours with Rika who is featured much more prominently in the credits of the second season, as they have run out of Decoy Protagonists.
Don't forget Keiichi, who, for some reason, didn't appear in the first season's opening despite being the protagonist for 4 of the 6 arcs in it.
Promotion to Parent: Satoko's brother Satoshi, until he 'transferred out'. Now, Rika and Satoko live alone without guardians.
Pun-Based Title: Hirukowashi-hen is named after Higurashi Daybreak, but "hirukowashi" means "day-breaking" (like breaking a day into a million pieces, not dawn).
The Rashomon: Watanagashi-hen, as with most of the early arcs, is told from Keiichi's point of view. Meakashi-hen revisits this arc from the perspective of Shion (although technically it's a different arc, just with similar events).
Razor Apples: Rena sticks a needle in the ohagi she gives to Keiichi.
Or so his Hinamizawa syndrome-fueled delusions told him. The Ohagi actually had Tobasco sauce in it, and Keiichi perceived it as a needle.
Really 700 Years Old: Hanyuu (she is some sort of god) and the physically preteen Rika, thanks to the "Groundhog Day" Loop effect. Unlike Hanyuu and most other examples, the latter's maturity matches her actual age, though this is deliberately hidden so as to not freak people out.
There's also how Hanyuu isn't even in her true form either (basically add +12 years to the form she takes).
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Shion did this to Satoko in a flashback in episode 16. After she began crying over her spilled lunch, Shion grabbed her by the head, threw her across the room, and began pelting her with books as she screamed that she was making things more difficult for Satoshi with her constant crying, and that it would be better for him and everyone else if she died.
To a lesser extent, "Sora no mukō" (the ending song) in the last sound novel.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: The red eyes should be your first clue that Rina, Rena's father's new girlfriend, is up to no good.
Red Filter of Doom: Used all over the place in the visual novel. Sometimes, it happens when a corpse is discovered (There, it's probably supposed to be a stand-in for blood), but it's just as likely to show up when someone's in the grip of a paranoia episode - perhaps trying to give off a bit of a fever vibe. Here's◊ a good example shot.
Red Herring: Two of them actually, and very well done. Both of them however, are major contributing factors to the Hate Plague when pursured
1. The Sonozaki family's "connections". Pretty much innocent in regards to the chain of murders associated with Oyrashiro's Curse. The Yamainu were the ones who kidnapped the grandson.
2. Oyashiro's curse itself. Only the 3rd and 5th deaths (both caused by Takano) have any actual relationship to what's behind the cycles of death. The only commonality between murders 1,2, and 4 is that the resident Hate Plague is behind them all.
The plot of the first 3 arcs are all Red Herrings. They may have had their own mysteries, but they were circumstantial variations irrelevant to the real mystery, which the characters involved would have become collateral victims to anyway. The solutions to these arcs also fail to tie together the Watanagashi Night murders, the only events these arcs had in common.
Partially true. The common tie between the first three arcs is Rule X. Their function is to serve as clues to the fact that a Hate Plague is the cause.
Another misdirection; that was the cause of those variations isolated from the constant, overarching mystery. It wasn't a cause but a means; even when the Hate Plague invalidated the true cause tried to execute manual #34 anyway.
There's a landslide of Red Herrings when the real crime is revealed; many clues point to Oyashira-sama's curse as the cause and buried in that is a journalist asking Keiichi how he could survive a heavy gas eruption when he was in a low point close to the spill zone.
Keiichi (red) and Mion (blue) to a lesser degree than with Rena.
Red Shirt Army: The Mountain Hounds, sort of, although none of them are killed.
Refusal of the Call: In the Playstation 2 game, if you don't have Keiichi enter any other arcs through their triggers, you end up in Taraimawashi-hen, which basically flogs you for doing this. And yes, you still die.
Note that "taraimawashi" (literally "handing the basin around") is an expression that basically means "handing responsibility to someone else". Hence the subsequent flogging.
Religious Horror: The origins of the Cotton-Drifting Festival. Ironic considering that it has gone horribly wrong.
Retirony: Subverted in the end, although Ooishi really pushes it with his big speech in the final arc.
In point of fact, though, Ooishi probably dies fewer times than anyone else in the main cast—he's almost always there at the end to make futile attempts to put together what happened.
Returning to the Scene: Subverted in Tatarigoroshi-hen; Detective Ooishi is waiting at the grave when Keiichi panics and comes to check it. After supervising the exhumation, no body is found.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Meakashi-hen is this combined with Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. Shion was mainly targeting those who took Satoshi from her... in her eyes, this included Rika (for conspiring with the village head) and Satoko (for receiving the brunt of his attention), along with those who actually were responsible (most of the other people in the village). Keiichi was just targeted to torture Mion.
Rooftop Confrontation: Keiichi and Rena's fight on the roof of the school. Probably the iconic scene of Tsumihoroboshi-hen.
Rope Bridge: The bridge that Keiichi chases Satoko over and gets shoved off of. In Yakusamashi-hen, this trope is used slightly more traditionally. Satoko uses the ropes as a place to hide from the Yamainu. They notice her and slice the ropes, sending her plummetting into the river.
Running Gag: Characters' feet have a curious tendency of hitting parked motorcycles in this series. Punks always show up screaming afterwards and are always interrupted by someone. And they are always the same punks.
School Club Front: The main cast often use their Game club for other purposes once the Hate Plague sets in.
Screw Destiny: Theme of the second season. Although Rika had long since given up escaping her death, Keiichi's incredible powers of persuasion and determination to destroy fate — combined with a sequence of minor miracles — revive her own will to fight against destiny and give both her and Hanyuu the courage to face their fears.
Serial Escalation: "Thank you very much for playing 'Higurashi When They Cry —Meakashi—'. Thanks to your support, I could bring the fifth episode to you. 'Higurashi' will increase its intensity toward the ending."
Serial Killer: Shion in the Cotton Drifting and Eye Opening chapters (the killings are over a period of days as opposed to a rapid burst of kills). The combination of various traumas and how Hinamizawa Syndrome works results in the Visionary type and Revenge sub type.
Shown Their Work/ Write What You Know: Whether the author is an experienced Mahjong player or just did research about it, all these details make the Mahjong scenes in the series all the more awesome ; most readers won't understand a thing about all this "pong" and "riichi" stuff though. There is even a Higurashi Mahjong game called "Higurashi Jan".
Sibling Yin-Yang: Mion and Shion contrast each other, and Irie mentions that before Satoshi "transferred," he and Satoko also had those tendencies.
Although during the more action-packed later arcs, their personalities don't contrast that much; they even have the exact same expression-set in the sound novel. Shion is just not as good at controlling her emotions.
Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 5 (Full Lockout). Ye gads, get out of order or miss a segment or two in either, and you can end up so lost. And, this is the same, whichever medium you're playing/ watching/ reading them in.
Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: In a flashback arc, the villain challenges God to kill them or save them. 'God' then misses with its subsequent lightning bolt, instead vaporizing the neighboring tree and apparently losing the bet.
The same situation is inverted later in the same arc, when Hanyuu asks Takano to shoot her and spare the others... and a few seconds later, Takano's last and only bullet goes whizzing past her ear to the tune of a delicious karmic echo. A shame so many people mistook it for a Deus ex Machina.
The Deus was standing right there—Hanyuu can stop time.
So What Do We Do Now?: Twisted in Saikoroshi-hen, a bonus chapter for the game that takes place after the main storyline, where one character wakes up in a perfect world without any of the tragic backstories or danger from the previous worldsand finds that it's more painful this way.
Split Personality: Rika and Frederica Bernkastel. One of the less-clear aspects of the story... and that's saying something.
It gets really bad in the anime, where it's just lightly touched upon with absolutely no explanation.
Start of Darkness: Two of them. The first part of the Festival Music chapter details this trope for Takano. Subverted with the "distinguishment scene" serving as one for Shion in arcs where she goes nuts, but not in arcs where she doesn't snap.
Stealth Insult: Hidden behind gun trivia. At least in anime version of Matsuribayashi-hen, Shion refuses to hand over an AK-47 assault rifle to Keiichi, remarking tongue-in-cheek that they would lose a lot of time if they try to teach the latter how to use it. Considering how famous is the Kalashnikov for its simplicity and reliability, that's quite a way to speak poorly of someone's intelligence.
Stress Vomit: When Keiichi tries to pat Satoko's head after her uncle has been abusing her, Satoko has a complete mental breakdown, and in the process vomits all over the floor.
Sure, Let's Go with That: Nastily deconstructed with Oryou's policy of making people believe the Sonozakis are responsible for bad stuff that they have no involvement with. Said policy causes lots of trouble for Hinamizawa and causes two people to become an Unwitting Instigator of Doom.
Stuffed into the Fridge: In the second movie Chikai, like in the series, Rena stuffs Ritsuko's corpse into a fridge after killing her. Unlike the series, she kills a scared-shitless Teppei after he sits on said fridge and finds her corpse.
Sudden Humility: In Tatarigoroshi, Keiichi starts to scream at Mion for not wanting to take Satoko in her huge house to protect her from her uncle. After he made Mion cry, Rena proceeds to scream at Keiichi, asking him why he doesn't take Satoko in his huge house. That makes him immediately realize how much he hurt Mion with his behaviour.
Surprisingly Good English: The ED "Why, or Why Not" features English lyrics that, while spoken with an accent, reproduce the structure of the language quite faithfully, save for a few spelling slip-ups.
Still prone to a few amusing Mondegreens, such as "I want to be a river in life" rather than "I want to believe in life." Damned accent.
Actually, it's "I was a believer in life", not "I want to believe in life."
Surprisingly Happy Ending: The ending of Matsuribayashi is considered by some fans as too happy for the series with none of the main characters going insane, nobody dying and the Big Bad getting away with essentially a slap on the wrist; which is also why these same fans prefer the more Bittersweet Ending of Miotsukushi in the PS2Updated Re-releasewhich takes the opposite route by making several characters go insane at once, and making Hanyū die at the end.
Sympathetic Murderer: Most of the main characters at one point or another. Satoshi and Keiichi kill Satoko's abusive aunt and uncle to protect her, Rena kills Rina and Satoko's uncle to protect her own life and her father, and Shion takes out several village elders who tormented Shion earlier and, according to the evidence available at the time, had been arranging murders to protect their power. Shion also slaughtered Keiichi, Mion, Rika, and Satoko, so she's a little iffy on the "sympathetic" toward the end there.
Tempting Fate: Every time the characters talk or think about how happy they are, or wishes days like these would never end, there's about to be a complete change of tone. Subverted in Tsumihoroboshi-hen, as Rena thinks this almost from the beginning but there are still comedic high notes before the tension gradually ratchets up.
That Liar Lies: "USO DA!" Played for comedy in Hirukowashi-hen. Also words of doom when played straight as everything goes to hell in a timeline once those words are mentioned.
There Are No Therapists: Well, there is one, but if you don't believe you're paranoid... Averted with Rena, though.
Traitor Shot: In Watanagashi-hen, closeups are used in the first episode to make Mion and Shion both look suspicious to the audience, although one of them is completely innocent. Also applied to Mion and Rena in Onikakushi-hen, with Hidden Eyes combined with dangerous smiles to tip off the audience before Keiichi has any reason to suspect them. This turns out to be a subversion, as Mion and Rena really were harmless, and every Traitor Shot they were given was a product of Keiichi's escalating paranoia.
Trivial Title: "When the Cicadas Cry" is an example, although it's also a play on words. The Japanese word for "cicadas" is similar to the Japanese word for "murderer". Cicadas aren't important to the story at all. Their chirping is just used as a background sound effect for atmosphere.
Trojan Prisoner: How Shion and the rest infiltrate the underground clinic in Matsuribayashi.
Troll: Shion becomes an exceptionally nasty one in arcs where she goes nuts, cruelly manipulating the village with phone calls. Especially towards Keiichi.
Takano also counts seeing as she actively provokes the Hate Plague in at least four of the first six novels. (one being offscreen but revealed in the 5th).
Twin Threesome Fantasy: Oishi suggests something to this effect after he sees Keiichi with Shion (knowing that Keiichi also hung out with Mion often).
Twin Switch: The twins do that often, usually off screen. In the past, they permanently changed places, being that they were accidentally switched as babies and kept on switching until one of them got the oni tattoo. In Minagoroshi, Shion revealed that she sometimes switches places with Mion for the role of representation of head, thus knows things about the village.
The Ending Changes Everything: The final scene of the anime, which introduced a character who either had never been seen before in the show before or was a grown-up, time-traveling Rika just to make sure your recently unscrewed mind gets screwed all over again. It makes slightly more sense in the original sound novels.
She is actually Bernkastel, who is all of the past Rikas together. She's a witch.
Actually, not quite. She is actually Frederica Bernkastel. Its unknown whether Frederica and the Bernkastel from Umineko are the same person, and its currently uncertain exactly what Frederica is, except that she is "not Rika or Oyashiro-sama" and you should be ashamed for thinking so.
Utsuge: Replace "make players cry" with "scare the crap out of them".
This is not to say that you won't cry at some point. Unless you left your soul somewhere, you will.
In Tsumihoroboshi, You. Will. Cry.
Vague Age: The gang's ages are not directly said. It is said that Satoko and Rika are the same ages (most likely Hanyuu too), and that Satoko is between the ages of 9-13. Keiichi and Rena are the same age, but since Rena was born in July, and Keiichi in April, she's younger than him. Mion and Shion are in the grade ahead of Keiichi.
The TIPS note that April is the cut-off month for grade levels and that Mion (and by extension, Shion and Satoshi) is only a few months older than Keiichi.
In the visual novel, the ages of the characters are censored/blacked out/whatever. Rika and Satoko's ages are listed as "X", while, for example, Keiichi's age is listed as "1X". So 9 would be the logical assumption for Rika and Satoko.
Satoko has visible breasts, which would be uncanny for a 9 year-old; you can assume she's between 11 and 13. In the puzzle section of Matsuribayashi, Rika's mother also mentions that her daughter's growth is abnormally slow, making her childish appearance plausible despite being Satoko's age.
According to at least the anime, Rena was fifteen in most of the arcs. Keiichi is sixteen and thus Mion, Shion, and Satoshi are.
Vigilante Execution: The various deaths of Teppai (Curse Killing, Atonement, and Exorcism arcs) and Rina (Atonement) are motivated by vigilantee action (either against some VERY nasty child abuse or a badger game). Given this series and the resident Hate Plague, this does NOT end well.
The Voice: Hanyuu: first arc, second season. As a bonus, a faint outline can be seen behind Keiichi and Rena in the third episode.
Vocal Evolution: Compare the first episodes of the English dub to the latter.
Wacky Marriage Proposal: Variation. There is a manga story called "Yamenaide Chie-sensei" which revolves around Chie getting a marriage interview and part of it has to do with Keiichi and friends trying to stop it (it's their activity game). A duel follows soon after they are discovered.
Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: In Saikoroshi-hen, when the murders never happen and neither do the tragic backstories, Rika realizes that it's more painful for her to lose her newly-formed group of friends than to be locked in a battle for the townspeople's survival with them on her side.
Walking Spoiler: Its nearly impossible to talk about Hanyuu without spoiling many of the series' major twists.
Wall of Text: This happens in Tatarigoroshi-hen. When Keiichi finally breaks down and decides to kill Satoko's uncle, he expresses his thoughts about it in a two-page spread full of text. This was kept in top-to-down style even in the English release.
Where The Hell Is Hinamizawa?: It's never said precisely where the village is located in Japan − the police reports just write "*** prefecture". The Watanagashi arc does give a few indications though: it is on the Japan Sea side and south from Tokyo; also, Takano's burnt body is always found in Gifu prefecture, so the village must be somewhere in a nearby prefecture.
Years Too Early: This line is mentioned during the credits of the last episode of Season 1 of the anime, and Satoko says something related to it in the sound novel's Tsumihoroboshi-hen when she pulls a trap on Rena.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Okonogi gives Takano this treatment at the end of Matsubayashi-hen when it is clear that all has been lost. One can assume that she does not fare any better in the Worlds where she "wins"