Reviews: Higanbana No Saku Yoru Ni
HATE HATE HATE
I cannot STAND this manga. From the very beginning it is nothing but an over the top pile of shit. There is not one panel of subtlety in this thing. All of the characters are unsympathetic and stupid. The plot is silly. There's no tension or atmosphere. It's an all-around failure. Now, I want to keep this review as short as I can because even thinking about this... THING makes me sick. But I want to specifically call out one scene, because it just should not exist. Anyone who's read Higanbana knows what I'm talking about. Ahem... "ZERO! ZERO! ZERO! ZERO! ZERO!" Know the one? I refuse to believe that anyone could look at this scene and approve it. I don't believe Ryukishi07 could. I don't believe the artist could. I don't believe the editor could. I don't believe the people who PRINTED it could. I simple do not believe that no one went to Ryukishi and said to him; "Look. Ryukishi. I love you, you know that? I love your work. So, please, understand where I come from when I say... this is fucking stupid. Rewrite it. Now." As a whole, I find Ryukishi's attempts at being over the top laughable at best, in everything he writes. If no one reins him in soon, he may find himself out of a job. This manga would have been much better if it had just been subtle. There are many, many scenes that should have been low-key, but Ryukishi's child-like obsession with over the top things has ruined this manga. But I cannot let the art slide. Don't think you're getting away so easily. ... Okay, you are. You suck. Go away. This is all I have to say on the matter. In the end, Higanbana is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay up there on the list of worst manga I've ever read. It's nothing but a long string of hideously over the top scenes and annoying characters. Ryukishi07. I know you use a FUCKING SCREENNAME, but this isn't the internet anymore. You aren't playing around with your pals. This is the big leagues now. Grow up, or get the fuck out.
Awful manga, much better VN
Going from the manga to the VN version of Higanbana is a good way to realize that more isn't necessarily better. They both have the same story and the same characters, but in the VN, pretty much everything is toned down. What kills the manga, as noted in the review below, is its horrible lack of subtlety. Everything, from the art to the characters' reactions, is so distorted and exagerated that you just can't take it seriously. Nothing really works. Now in the VN, even though most of the scenes are the same, the more over-the-top parts (like Higanbana "eating" Marie and dislocking herself at every occasion or Kanamori raping Marie's corpse) are removed, and the fact that the sprites offer a more limited set of expressions is rather a good thing in this case. Even the narration is more subdued overall. Add to that sober and effective musics, and re-reading the first story in VN, I actually felt sorry for Marie. The scenes that are supposed to be scary and/or disturbing, well, actually are, although midly. And there are some truly heartwarming scenes in several stories. I did not feel that at all in the manga, who just seemed to constantly scream "BE DISTURBED!!!". So, yeah, Ryūkishi07 is probably better at writing VNs after all. Or maybe he's just better when working with the whole 7th Expansion staff.
Okay, for those of you who haven't seen the other two reviews, Higanbana no Saku Yoru Ni ( The Unforgiving flowers blossom in the Dead of Night) was written by Ryukishi 07. Yep, the same guy who wrote the Higurashi and Umineko series. Normally I try to avoid horror stories but the cover of this one managed to catch my eye somehow. I wish I could go into detail about Ryukishi's history but I haven't been into the series for a long time. So here's my opinion. This manga could be a lot better. I mean, it does have a lot of potential. I like that it's a messed up twist of the usual story of a little girl trying to endure and later overcome her abuse at the hands of her classmates and teacher. That she has to prove herself to her so called "allies" under penalty of death. And to be honest, I'm pretty dang interested to see how her relationship with those "allies" will develop. I like that it's a grade schooler having to go through all this in general! This whole thing has the potential to be really freaky! But instead of being freaky, it's mostly hard to take seriously. First off, while I think the art is charming, the images in the manga that are supposed to be scary are so distorted that it's really difficult to tell what's going on. Instead of gore, you basically get a lot of black squiggly lines. And we got the mad teacher, Kanamori. While we are waiting for first part of the story to reach it's climax, he makes all these facial expressions which makes him look.. well...silly, not scary O__o Yeah I think the author overdid in this one.. But I guess it's okay anyway. It did manage to make me feel sorry for poor Moriya. And her and the youkai's designs are actually really cool! To me anyway. So I figure that if Ryukishi could tone it down a bit, and develop Moriya's story some more in the near future, this manga'd be really great! But for now...meh :P
Tries too hard
The basic story is great and potentially creepy. But the art style and writing style combine to be so over the top that it loses most of its impact. There's no subtlety, which means while there may be an impact in the moment, nothing lingers. And people are constantly crying. No, not just crying, bawling like a small child. Maybe with less stylized art, it would work, but despite the dark nature of the story, it's just not scary.