These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
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.
Broken Base: The fanbase is divided on whether to use the PS2 or original graphics.
Similarly between the original BGM and the MangaGamer ones.
And once again between Mangagamer's hentai sprites versus the PS2 or original ones.
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 leader of the Orphanage of Fear in Big Bad Miyo Takano's past was a sadistic disciplinarian who believes in brutalizing the children by whipping any he deemed 'disobedient' so that the others could hear. When one boy accidentally spilled the ink in his pen, the orphanage leader forced him to eat the ink. Takano herself was even forced to clean a filthy outhouse with her mouth and saw one of her friends turned into chicken feed. With this treatment, it's little wonder Takano ended up as such a delusional psychopath.
Teppei Houjo is also a Child Hater who commits child abuse in inventive and chilling ways. Among other things, he forces Satoko, an 11 year old, to strip naked so he can use her for a 'table' and humiliate her. He regularly uses psychological torture on her as well, and murdered Rika, another child, for getting involved. Even Big Bad Miyo Takano considers him utter scum.
Cry for the Devil - Is it even possible to feel anything but disgust for Takano after the end of Minagoroshi? After reading Matsuribayashi… Yes… yes it is.
You can also cry for Shion at the end of Meakashi. The anime rushes it but her inner monologue at the end of the sound novel is a bona-fide Tear Jerker. The music really doesn't help.
Ear Worm: The opening of Kira will be stuck in your head for a few days, whether you like it or not. As if it wasn't bad enough, having the characters nodding their heads on the beat adds an Eye Worm.
Ending Fatigue: After the VN's Watanagashi-hen could have ended on a dramatic high note, Keiichi says it best:
Please, somebody end this case. This extremely cruel, pitiful and sad case...please end it.
Tatarigoroshi-hen is labelled "The Shortest Scenario" in the VN. In the anime, it's an episode longer than the previous arcs.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Rena is Higurashi's most iconic character, the most commonly related to the show, and her popularity dwarfs the true protagonists'. Despite being relevant in all arcs and only being central in one, this may be because said arc is the series' turning point. Still, the creator seems to have taken this in stride; see Wolverine Publicity.
Tomitake is one as well.
Shion is quite iconic in this series as a well-known Yandere.
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.
"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.
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?
Hell Is That Noise: The organ riff of Shiritori no Itadaki ~ Blanc Pur in Minagoroshi-hen, which sounds appropriately like a funeral music. When it starts playing you just know something bad is going to happen. That music marks the end of the Hope Spot in that arc when Tomitake is cornered and about to be injected with the H173.
The cicadas at first, and for a long time until you become desensitized by their ubiquity. But when they shift between day and night cries, or break a period of silence, the aural bombardment begins again.
Ho Yay - Notable in Keiichi's "K" persona in Kai. 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.
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.
Magnum Opus: Either Tsumihoroboshi-hen or Minagoroshi-hen are often considered the best novels of When They Cry. As a whole, Higurashi is frequently considered Ryukushi's best work by a large portion of the fandom, with another large part preferring Umineko.
Memetic Psychopath: While much of the cast does in fact go crazy at some point, Rena seems to get the worst of it in terms of exxageration, often being falsely labeled as a Yandere.
Misaimed Fandom: 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...
The many deaths of Teppei also get cheered on by most. See The Scrappy below for why.
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" 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).
Then there's the part where Satoko actually throws up. The sound was very convincing.
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.
Rewatch Bonus: As a series based on a lot of mysteries and deceptions, reading Higurashi is a completely different experience the second time around, in no small part due to massive amounts of foreshadowing. In particular, reading Onikakushi-hen while knowing that Keiichi is hallucinating from Hinamizawa Syndrome turns just about everyone's actions on their heads.
The Scrappy: Teppei for being a total scumbag to the point of being completely unentertaining (unlike more malicious characters like "Trollkastel" and Takano. It gets so bad that in a series that's very much against violent solutions, his deaths are more often than not cheered on by the fans.
There's also the fact that, you know, he's a child abuser.
It's really telling just how hated he is when during the 08/2013 character poll, Teppei didn't even get on the list (there were 18 characters on the list) considering that he's a relatively major character.
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 (though less romantic and more brother-sister like). Keiichi and Rena are usually shown to have some kind of complementarity in most arcs though.
The Untwist: 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.
What an Idiot: In the anime, after Keiichi is almost killed by Shion posing as Mion, he narrowly gets away after being warned by her that if he sees her again, he shouldn't come near her. The next night, she comes and throws pebbles at his window. Being the kind of character he is, Keiichi goes down and talks to her. Naturally, she promptly stabs him. In the game and manga, this scene is played out in a somewhat more believable way.
Also, in both that and Watanagashi-hen: "YES! You've caught me, I'm the psychopathic murderer! Now, before I surrender to the cops outside, will one of you please follow me alone into this underground soundproof torture chamber?"
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.
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 Tatarigoroshi-hen, Mion perfectly knows what Keiichi was doing during the night of the festival, so she probably asks Rena and Rika to do 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.
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.