Adaptation Displacement: The anime is far more well known in North America than the original sound novels or the manga adaptation, but it was never popular in any way that mattered; it sold poorlynote (reasons include a lack of marketing due to licensor Geneon shutting down shortly after its release, a dub that many fans considered weak, and piracy – fansubbing culture was at its most rampant at the time this show came out), to the point that no one Stateside was willing to touch the series again until Sentai Filmworks re-released it in 2016. The manga, on the other hand, occasionally graced the bestseller list, and all of the "canon" arcs (as well as most of the side stories) have been translated. Its popularity was high enough that there was never any doubt about Umineko's manga getting an official translation.
Anvilicious / Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Above all else, the series' main theme and moral seems to be about the importance of having a good child protection program. The recurring theme of child abuse and the slogging bureaucratic "attempts" to fight it (and in one memorable case, actively ignoring it) are the genesis of several slaughters and the main tragedy itself. Unfortunately, this is Truth in Television in Japan, where even now child abuse is seen as a "family problem", and this holds true for many other places in the world of course.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In Tsumihoroboshi, the moral can be seen as "Stick by your friends, even if they've brutally murdered some adults and are now attempting to blow up the school." However, the same arc lays down a more down-to-earth message: while you should certainly stick with your friends, it's okay to keep things from them that they don't need to know. Otherwise no one would be friends because they couldn't bear to tell others about the mistakes they've made.
The fanbase is divided on which sprites are the best – the original's, the PS2's, or the Steam release's.
Another issue with the MangaGamer release is that they plan to censor Satoko's nude sprite, which is used in a non-sexual context during the third game, to include a towel covering her to meet with Steam's terms of service, which do not allow nudity. Fans have argued over whether the sprite should have been censored in the first place, and whether the new sprite (released on their ask.fm page) needs to be censored further.
Ironic, given that the "censored further" approach is actually the closest to the description given by the narrative of said scene.
A bigger broken base is Higurashi Kira. Since each episode focused onverydifferentelements, it is very difficult to have one definite opinion about the whole OVA. Especially since the last episode is rather different from the first three, being more serious and closer to the feel of the original series. Cue discussions which of the episodes are good and which aren't.
The OVA's in total are this. A lot of fans hate the lack of horror in most of them, despite the fact that the Endless June is finished and thus there's no need for the Hate Plague or drama.
The Orphanage of Fear that Miyo Takano is sent to following the deaths of her parents is led by the seemingly kind Staff Leader, who reveals himself as a sadistic disciplinarian by pretending to console Takano, only to immediately slap her in the face. Reveling in the brutalization of children, the Staff Leader rules the Orphanage with an iron fist, dishing out punishments to those he deems "disobedient." His crimes range from being extremely petty—such as forcing a boy to eat ink after he accidentally spilled some—to downright cruel. When Takano and three other kids attempted to escape the Orphanage, he sentences them to grotesque punishments with Eriko—the ringleader of the operation as well as Takano's only friend— receiving the worst one. She is sent to the chicken coop wherein she is pecked to death by the ravenous chickens. Takano herself is then made to clean an outhouse with her tongue. Despite being relatively minor in the series, the Staff Leader left a lasting impact on Takano's life, ultimately warping her mind, and making her the psychopathic, Godhood-obsessed mastermind she is now.
Nomura is, despite her limited screentime, the overarching villain of the series. A representative of the secret organization Tokyo, Nomura sought to topple the Old Koizumi faction. A skilled manipulator, Nomura tricks a despondent Miyo Takano into aiding her with her goals, claiming that she'd back her research in return. Working behind the scenes, Nomura masterminds the Great Hinamizawa Disaster, a catastrophic event in which a special forces unit is deceived into massacring over 2,000 people via improvised gas chambers. She then creates a cover up story, citing that sulfide gas spread throughout the town, killing everyone. Viewing Takano as only a tool, she attempts to dispose of her as to sever any loose ends, and ultimately leaves her to take all of the blame.
Epileptic Trees: If we go by Saikoroshi-hen's continuity (in Rei), Rika mutters to Hanyuu at one point that she should return to being Rika Furude and stop being the witch Bernkastel.
It's a bit more explicit in the visual novel version of Saikoroshi-hen, where Rika muses that she's really a separate person from the Rika who lives in Saikoroshi-hen's world. Rika decides that if she's not Rika Furude she should call herself something else, and looks at a bottle of Bernkastel wine. At the end of the novel Rika thinks that her other self may still be around on a higher plane.
Fandom Berserk Button: Dumbing down the series by summing it up as 'that series with the killer lolis' is a good way to annoy many people. Similarly with those who only focus on the horror and gorn aspects of the show, and ignore the emotional element behind it all.
For fans of the VN, it can be very upsetting so see people talking about the work when they have only seen the anime.
Calling Rena a Yandere despite the fact that she isn't one also tends to annoy many fans.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment / Foreshadowing: In Watanagashi-hen (episode 5 of the anime), Mion explains that she's the nice, pleasant twin, whilst Shion is mean and nasty. Then in episode 8, we find out that it's the other way around (Mion is evil, Shion's the victim) and THEN in Meakashi-hen, we find out that Mion was right all along.
On the other hand, Shion WAS Mion all along, but at that point things are confusing enough without considering that.
The first dialogue between Tomitake and Keiichi sounds very weird after Tsumihoroboshi-hen.
Tomitake: What is she doing in such a place? Keiichi: Beats me. Maybe she's checking up the body she has cut in pieces and buried here?
Ho Yay - Notable in Keiichi's "K" persona in Kai. Also in Satoshi's image song, he sings "The person who can listen to my wish is only you~!"... which is immediately followed by him screaming Keiichi's name. On the other side of the fence, the official artwork and such often exploits the fact that, out of the core seven characters, only one of them is a guy for all it's worth.
There's also a bunch of Les Yay between the female cast members. The animators take advantage of this in their anime-only scenes, and official arts.
Rika's suicide is quite disturbing taken out of context, but in the context of the series, it becomes a Crowning Moment of Awesome. A disturbing Crowning Moment of Awesome, but at least a less disturbing one. This is done intentionally, because the infamous scene appears at the beginning of the fifth episode, before the opening sequence, with absolutely no context, and it's not until the second half of the season that we see the events leading up to that scene.
Inverted in the first episode with a Cold Opening that may be shocking, but isn't quite disturbing until seen in the context of the arc. And then becomes more disturbing the more context is revealed after the arc.
Played straight or inverted for generally any poor schmuck that comes across clips of Higurashi without knowing that there’s a "Groundhog Day" Loop and that characters go crazy if they catch the Hate Plague, which is why characters act friendly towards one another in a climatic moment while another scene shows them killing each other.
Shion tries her hand at being this in the first half Musubienishi-hen, disguising herself as her sister to manipulate Keiichi into pretending to be her boyfriend and hero. At least until she resigns from her mischief after Keiichi blows her cover and realizes who she really is, after which she really opens up to him in tears after hearing him say "That's why... this one's on me..." before his loss of consciousness. She also displayed many shades of this trope in Meakashi-hen where her premeditated torture and killing spree in the name of taking revenge ends up a complete success, leaving the entire main cast sans Rena dead.
Memetic Badass: According to some, even Chuck Norris is terrified of Shion Sonozaki.
Remember kids, according to this fandom it's a-ok to beat defenseless little girls to almost death because you find them clingy and annoying. Nevermind that this is a Yandere tantrum from the culprit instead of a Hate Plague-caused hallucination, and that the little girl's brother found out and was MOST pissed off!, nooooooo...
Moe: Rena, Rika, and Satoko. Rika is well aware of that and uses her cuteness for her advantage numerous times. She even won the 2007 Saimoe Tournament.
Moral Event Horizon: The Shion arc is a veritable Lensman Arms Race of inexcusable acts starting with Onryu ordering the Cold-Blooded Torture of Shion during the "distinguishment scene" with Mion enforcing it, and culminating a few episodes later, with the brutal murder of Satoko.
Even more so, Miyo in Minagoroshi-hen after she caps an 11 year old girl in the head after playing mind games with her (and after promising to spare her life before she executed another member of the protagonist clique in front of the poor little girl's face). She then immediately proceeds to disembowel another little girl...while she's still living.
Then there's the part where Satoko actually throws up. The sound was very convincing.
Nightmare Retardant: A brilliantly deliberate example is Oyashiro, whom the series does a fantastic job building up as a figure of dreadwithout ever being seen. Then you DO see her as she truly is - Hanyuu, who couldn't be further away from the mental image you'd constructed in your head by this point.
Never Live It Down: Rena's Ax-Crazy reputation. The only arc in which she was truly crazy was Tsumihoroboshi-hen, what with the stalking and poisoning in Onikakushi-hen being hallucinated by Keiichi. In the other arcs, she's only mildly bipolar and not really all that psycho.
Ship Tease: The rule of thumb (more or less) is that there will be Ship Tease between Keiichi and the main female character of the arc. In Onikakushi-hen and Tsumihoroboshi-hen it's Keiichi×Rena; in Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen it's Keiichi×Shmion; in the alternate PS2 final chapter its Mion; in Tatarigoroshi-hen and Minagoroshi-hen there is slight teasing for Keiichi×Satoko (in a brother-sister way). Keiichi and Rena are usually shown to have some kind of complementarity in most arcs though.
Signature Scene: Keiichi bashing Mion and Rena with a baseball bat at the start of the story is probably this.
Another one is the duel on the rooftop in Tsumihoroboshi-hen. Iconic enough that in the Kizuna Rasen promo, that scene was the only one where a special animation was worked directly into the promo instead of simply showing one of the CGs from the game very slightly animated.
The manga arc Yoigoshi-hen, which is in a Great Hinamizawa Disaster timeline, features a woman claiming to be Mion, but characters point out that Mion died 20 years ago, and "Mion" is shaken when she meets another major character who bears an uncanny resemblance to Satoshi. She even delivers a monologue that resembles Shion's speech in Watanagashi-hen ("I'm the demon inside Mion!" etc. etc.). Yes, she's actually Shion. It's a bit different from Watanagashi-hen though; Mion's ghost actually possesses Shion for most of the story.
More generally, the fact that Miyo Takano is the Big Bad. She was so suspicious from the start that various fans were sure there'd be some other explanation for it. Nope, as it turns out.
Watanagashi-hen has one large instance, mostly for its execution in the anime: After Keiichi and Rena hear from Mion (really Shion disguised as her) the confession that she was behind several murders in the arc, she asks that one of them come with her to her family's underground torture chamber, before she surrenders to the cops outside. Keiichi goes and follows her, ending in him nearly being killed. He narrowly gets away after being warned by her that if he sees her again, he shouldn't come near her. Some time later, after evading the cops' suspicion, she comes and throws pebbles at his window. Keiichi goes down and talks to her. She promptly stabs him. Although of course, the whole theme of the arc is about how people can have hidden sides to them, and whether you can trust them in spite of this. Thus, in this situation Keiichi realizes the danger, but goes ahead with his actions because he wants to believe in his friend. In the game and manga, these scenes played out in a somewhat more believable way.
In Tatarigoroshi-hen, Mion perfectly knows what Keiichi was doing during the night of the festival, so she probably asks Rena and Rika to act as if he had gone to the festival as an alibi. Fine. Then they tell Keiichi to come to the trash field, probably to explain the whole deal to him. It doesn't occur to either Rena or Mion to explain him at least the basics while nobody is around; like the entire way back from school.The rest is history. Granted, they couldn't guess it would turn that wrong, but they still had absolutely no reason to wait so much to tell him anything.
Irie-sensei not realizing that Takano was just a bit amoral and for that matter the Big Bad of the series, given some of her less... subtle statements showing a certain lack of regard for ethics, as revealed by the flashbacks in Matsuribayashi-hen. (Though granted, she had a lot over his head and he might not have thought he could have done anything useful and gotten away with it).
In Saikoroshi-hen, Rika, after finally escaping an everlasting cycle of paranoia, murder, torture and death, abandons all caution and and gets hit by a truck. Had it not been for Hanyuu, this would have restarted the entire cycle once more.
Woolseyism: The French version of the sound novel doesn't hesitate to take a few liberties with the original text, and they usually work extremely well.
Hanyū's Verbal Tic "Au au au !" becomes "Mééé euuuh !" note untranslatable, but it expresses a childish and embarrassed protest, which is incredibly cute and fitting; similarly, Rika's "Nipah~~*" becomes "Ehéééé~~*".
Satoko is given a very elevated speech full of subjunctives and more or less obscure words, and uses the distant pronoun "vous" to adress everyone. Her nickname to Satoshi "Nii-nii" is also adapted as "Totoche".
In lieu of "Kei-chan", Mion usually calls Keiichi "p'tit gars"note pronounce "ptee gah" ("lil' guy") while Shion calls him "mon cœur" ("sweetheart"). They do call him "Kei" sometimes, but not often.