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When They Cry is a media franchise that primarily consists of Visual Novel games. It is composed of three subseries, which are largely independent of one another, but do share some vague recurring concepts and elements:

The series is written by independent game developer Ryukishi07 of 07th Expansion. Ryukishi wanted to make a visual novel that stuck with people after they played it. For inspiration, he looked to one of the industry's pioneers, Key/Visual Arts. Studying their games, he noticed that they all followed a basic structure. The games began with comedy and introduction of the characters and the basic concepts of the world; then the player got to know the characters; then something tragic happened to make the player cry just as they'd gotten to care about the cast, accompanied by revelations of the true nature of the world and what had really been going on the whole time; then the story culminated with a miracle to Earn Your Happy Ending. Ryukishi decided that he wanted to make a game like that, too... but he didn't want to (just) make his audience cry like Key did.

He wanted to scare them.

So began When They Cry. It is a Series Franchise where the primary installments are Visual Novels, called "sound novels" due to their linearity. However, the expanded universes of Higurashi and Umineko encompass anime adaptations, spin-offs, manga, extra side arcs in Visual Novel format, mangas, console games, and various other media. It is broken up into a series of supernatural murder mysteries, which are further broken up into individual games, each covering one story arc. Generally, these arcs are marked by time starting over from a certain point with the dead members of the cast brought back to life for mysterious reasons. The series itself is probably most well known for the sheer amount of Cute and Psycho characters in it’s cast (hell, the trope page image shows Rena Ryuugu).

The series is mapped out like this:

When They Cry 1: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry)

Hinamizawa, a small village in The '80s is plagued by a curse in which, every year, one villager is found murdered and another is never seen again. Keiichi Maebara, the new kid in town, begins to uncover the secrets of the village and is driven further into fear and paranoia as he watches his new friends succumb to madness. This year, it looks as if the whole village is marked for death...

  • Original Arcs:
    • Chapter 1: Onikakushi-hen (鬼隠し編, Spirited Away by the Demons Chapter): The "Keiichi arc". Keiichi moves into Hinamizawa and suspects Rena and Mion of involvement with the murders after he finds that they've been lying to him about the village's past.
    • Chapter 2: Watanagashi-hen (綿流し編, Cotton Drifting Chapter): The "Mion arc". Mion's twin sister Shion comes to town under mysterious circumstances, and the theory that the murders are committed by demonic possession becomes likely.
    • Chapter 3: Tatarigoroshi-hen (祟殺し編, Curse Killing Chapter): The "Satoko arc". Satoko's abusive uncle makes everyone's life miserable when he comes to Hinamizawa, and Keiichi attempts to stop him with disastrous results.
    • Chapter 4: Himatsubushi-hen (暇潰し編, Time Killing Chapter): The "Akasaka Arc". A flashback arc. Police investigator Mamoru Akasaka relates the events of a kidnapping five years ago in Hinamizawa and the mysterious actions of Rika Furude.
  • Matsuri Arcs:
    • Taraimawashi-hen (盥回し編, Rotation Chapter): A PS2-exclusive alternate version of Onikakushi-hen. It is designed to show what happens if Keiichi doesn't get involved in the mysteries of Hinamizawa.
    • Tsukiotoshi-hen (憑落し編, Exorcism Chapter): A PS2-exclusive alternate version of Tatarigoroshi-hen. In this arc, Satoko's uncle Teppei is the main threat. Keiichi still takes matters into his own hands, but this time, he is accompanied by Shion and Rena, and all of them start to hallucinate afterward.
  • Kizuna Arcs:
    • Someutsushi-hen (染伝し編, Stain Following Chapter): An adaptation of Onisarashi-hen to the DS system. A new character, a police officer named Tomoe Minai, is introduced. Features a different ending to that of Onisarashi-hen.
  • Manga Arcs:
    • Onisarashi-hen (鬼曝し編, Demon Exposing Chapter). A manga-only side-story. In a timeline where the Great Hinamizawa Disaster occurred, a young girl named Natsumi's life is still ruined despite moving away from Hinamizawa before the massacre.
  • Anime Arcs:
    • Nekogoroshi-hen (猫殺し編, Cat Killing Chapter). Mion relates the story of a murdered friend. This was also made into a bonus OVA between the release of the first and second seasons.

When They Cry 2: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Solutions)

A direct continuation of the previous, which answers the many questions raised by it. Although some of these arcs appear in the first season of The Anime of the Game, they are considered part of Kai in the games themselves. Keiichi is replaced by Rika as the main character, but as with Himatsubushi-hen, some arcs are told by other characters.

  • Original Arcs:
    • Chapter 5: Meakashi-hen (目明し編, "Eye Opening Chapter"): The "Shion arc". Shion relates her life story and why she is the way she is, culminating in a retelling of what really happened during Watanagashi-hen (although note that while this arc serves as a POV Sequel to Watanagashi-hen, they are technically different – just nearly identical – timelines).
    • Chapter 6: Tsumihoroboshi-hen (罪滅し編, Atonement Chapter): The "Rena arc". Rena becomes incredibly paranoid and feels forced to kill, threaten, and hide away in order to save the people she loves, but for the first time, others are able to get through to the victim of paranoia. This also reveals the truth about the events of Onikakushi-hen. This arc acts as the end of the first season of the anime.
    • Chapter 7: Minagoroshi-hen (皆殺し編, Mass Killing Chapter): The "Rika Arc". Rika and Keiichi band together with the rest of the club, doing their best to get past the one hurdle that Rika has deemed impossible to beat—Satoko's abusive uncle Teppei—but are stopped by the real culprit, who is revealed after having been hiding all this time.
    • Chapter 8: Matsuribayashi-hen (祭囃し編, Festival Accompanying Chapter): The "Hanyuu Arc". The true culprit's heartbreaking motivations are revealed. The club – plus the police and other adults of authority – mobilize to save Hinamizawa once and for all.
  • Matsuri Arcs:
    • Miotsukushi-hen: Omote (澪尽し編, Canal Drying Chapter: Front): A PS2-exclusive Alternate Universe ending arc in which Rika and Keiichi stand alone instead of with the others, as the Hate Plague goes into overdrive and the events of Watanagashi-hen, Tatarigoroshi-hen and Tsumihoroboshi-hen hit them all at once. Several deviations occur from the Matsuribayashi-hen ending.
  • Kizuna Arcs:
    • Kagebōshi-hen (影紡し編, Silhouette Chapter): The retelling of Someutsushi-hen from Minai's point of view in the same style as Watanagashi-hen was retold. Features yet another ending different to that of Onisarashi and Someutsushi.
    • Yoigoshi-hen (宵越し編, Beyond Midnight Chapter): A manga-only Alternate Universe to Tsumihoroboshi-hen. In 2006, 23 years after the Hinamizawa Disaster, a new group – including a woman claiming to be Mion Sonozaki – meets in abandoned Hinamizawa. This Chapter appears in a third Higurashi DS-port game, with a new character added. In the overall manga series, it is counted as Volumes 9 and 10, placing it in between the two halves of the greater story.
    • Tokihogushi-hen (解々し編, Untangling Chapter): A DS-Port Prequel chapter that involves Tomoe Minai in a case of Rena Ryugu in 1982, one year prior to the events of the story.
    • Kotohogushi-hen (言祝し編, Congratulating Chapter): The DS-Port original chapter that revolves around Hanyuu's past life in Onigafuchi, along with her husband, Riku Furude, and their child, Ouka.
    • Miotsukushi-hen: Ura (澪尽し編, Canal Drying Chapter: Back): A DS-Port render of Miotsukushi-hen that adds the conclusion of Tomoe Minai's story, that continues from Tokihogushi-hen.
  • Manga Arcs:
    • Utsutsukowashi-hen (現壊し編, Reality Breaking Chapter): A manga-only chapter, and a prequel to Meakashi-hen. When Shion is sent off to boarding school, she investigates the murder of a teacher. Cancelled.
    • Kokoroiyashi-hen (心癒し編, Heart Healing Chapter): A manga-only chapter. The club goes on vacation and attempts to heal after the horrors they've seen and participated in.
  • Anime Arcs:
    • Reunion (サイカイ). An anime-only episode set years after Tsumihoroboshi-hen. This raises many new theories about the Hinamizawa Disaster, only one of which is correct. Similar to a certain TIP in the Visual Novel.
    • Yakusamashi-hen (厄醒し編, Disaster Awakening Chapter). An anime-only arc personally requested by the game's creator to fill in the plot holes left by the first season. Along with new character Hanyu, Rika hints at her true nature and why she is at the center of the mystery, and Satoko attempts to solve it on her own.

When They Cry: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Rei)

Extra arcs that may or may not be canon. In the anime, this is a set of five bonus OVAs.

  • Original Arcs:
    • Saikoroshi-hen (賽殺し編, Dice Killing Arc): The epilogue. Rika falls into a coma and wakes up in a Wonderful Life scenario, only instead of wishing herself out, she's wished out the Dysfunction Junction of the cast. What didn't kill them, though, once removed, appears to have made them horrible, miserable, selfish people.
    • Batsukoishi-hen (罰恋し編, Penalty Loving Chapter): A gag story set in the after-school club. This was once included as part of Kai, but was considered too lighthearted and silly. In the anime, this arc is replaced with Hajisarashi-hen.
    • Hirukowashi-hen (昼壊し編, Daybreak Chapter): A fanmade fighting game that ascended to canon. Rika finds a pair of magatama that will make anyone fall in love, the whole town begins to squabble over them, and Rena accidentally swallows one.

When They Cry: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Hou (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Hou)

When They Cry: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Sui (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Sui)

  • Original Arcs:
    • Hajisarashi-hen (羞晒し編, Shame Exposing Chapter): Keiichi obtains a charmed swimsuit that is said to turn the wearer into a Chick Magnet. While at a public pool the girls learn that it will actually turn him into a narcissist, and a race against time begins to relieve him of his trunks before he completely loses interest in the opposite sex forever! Naturally, Hilarity Ensues.

When They Cry: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Kira)

More extra arcs that are probably not canon. An anime OVA that contains Batsukoishi-hen and three all-new episodes. Notable for being much more lighthearted and silly than even Rei and containing very high amounts of fanservice.

  • Anime Arcs:
    • Ayakashisenshi-hen (妖戦し編, Demon Battling Chapter): Rika and Satoko find themselves in another alternate reality where Rika is a Magical Girl. Unfortunately, everyone are slowly becoming brainwashed minions of "Tokyo Magika".
    • Musubienishi-hen (結縁し編, Affinity Chapter): Keiichi gets caught in a Love Triangle with Mion, Rena and Shion.
    • Yumeutsushi-hen (夢現し編, Dream Appearing Chapter): A young Rika ends up being transported to the present day and the club tries to find a way to send her back.

When They Cry: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Light Novels (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Light Novels)

Similar to Rei, these are bonus arcs that stand in a group rather than fitting into 1 or Kai.

  • LN Arcs:
    • Kuradashi-hen (蔵出し編, Delivery Chapter). Everything that couldn't be fit into the games, manga, adaptations or TIPS is all right here.

When They Cry: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Karma)

A new 2020 anime series, originally advertised as a remake of the original anime, but revealed to be a Stealth Sequel after its release.

  • Arcs:
    • Onidamashi-hen (鬼騙し編, Demon-Deceiving Chapter): After the conclusion of Kai, Rika finds herself back in the past, in what seems to be a repeat of the events of Onikakushi-hen. However, certain things are different this time.
    • Watadamashi-hen (綿騙し編, Cotton-Deceiving Chapter): An arc which initially appears to be a repeat of the events of Watanagashi-hen, but eventually takes a different turn.
    • Tataridamashi-hen (祟騙し編, Curse-Deceiving Chapter): Similarly to the above, this arc initially appears to be a repeat of the events of Tatarigoroshi-hen.
    • Nekodamashi-hen (猫;騙し編, Cat-Deceiving Chapter): Departing from arcs that appear to repeat previous timelines, Rika struggles to find the culprit and solve the mystery behind her forced return to the past.
    • Satokowashi-hen (郷壊し編, Village-Destroying Chapter): Rika's life after the happy ending of Matsuribayashi-hen is shown, and the new culprit and their motivations are finally revealed.

When They Cry: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Sotsu (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Graduation)

The direct continuation to Gou.

When They Cry: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Mei (Higurashi: When the Cicadas Cry: Mei)

A smartphone game with gacha elements, released in Fall 2020 to tie in with the release of Gou. Set ten years after the Great Hinamizawa Disaster, three girls investigate what really happened and find themselves sent back in time a few days before the tragedy.

    When They Cry 3 & 4: Umineko 
  • When They Cry 3: Umineko no Naku Koro ni ("When the Seagulls Cry"). Unlike Higurashi, Umineko features a cast of eighteen people on the island of Rokkenjima, and the time loops only last two days, increasing the sense of urgency. An old man living in a mansion is near death, and all the relatives have convened to discuss his will. Battler Ushiromiya, one of these relatives, insists that the legends of a cruel and insane witch are only stories, and is determined to find the real cause of the murders. Higurashi and Umineko are mostly unrelated, save for one character which seems to tie the two verses together.
    • Legend of the golden witch. The "Beatrice Arc." Like Onikakushi-hen, this is an introduction to the setting and to the legend of the witch Beatrice. A sorority of witches, each with her own motivations, begins to give Battler cryptic clues. Natsuhi is the prominent adult character of the arc.
    • Turn of the golden witch. The "Cousins Arc." The family is revealed to have a dark history related to black magic, and the relationships between George and Shannon, Jessica and Kanon, and Rosa and Maria are greatly focused on. Rosa is a central character to this arc's events.
    • Banquet of the golden witch. The "Eva Arc." A handful of new characters are introduced, and the pasts of Eva and Beatrice are expanded upon. Eva is the most prominent adult of the arc.
    • Alliance of the golden witch. The "Ange and Maria Arc." The future of 1998 is explored as the sole survivor of the Ushiromiya family, Ange, explores the nature of magic and witches. At the same time, the character of Maria and her troubled relationships both with her mother and with Beatrice are further explored in a period of time prior to 4 October 1986.
      • Rondo of the Witch and Reasoning. PS3 remake of the first four games by Alchemist. Keeping the original BGM, using the voice actors from the anime, and completely redoing art.
  • When They Cry 4: Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru (When the Seagulls Cry: Breakdown). A direct continuation of the above, this delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding the family, where rather than outright answers, only subtle hints are given at first.
    • End of the golden witch. The "Natsuhi Arc." The game continues with somewhat new players, and the scope of the game changes when someone shipwrecks on the island before the murders. Natsuhi's past is explained and she is a featured character in the game's plotline.
    • Dawn of the golden witch. The "Shannon and Kanon Arc." A new game master takes up the helm and gives us a tale with some unexpected twists, focusing on the two cousin-servant couples and hinting at many of the game's biggest mysteries, complete with a return to 1998.
    • Requiem of the golden witch. The "Lion and Yasu Arc." Yet another new game master presents her personal perception of the "truth" of the game. The story is split between an alternate, "perfect" world where the tragedy does not happen (which focuses instead on Kinzo and Beatrice's backstories) and the game master's culprit theory proper. Features two new perspective characters, Willard H. Wright and Lion Ushiromiya.
    • Twilight of the golden witch. The "Battler, Ange and Yasu Arc." The final arc, in which Battler and Beatrice create a special last game in order to help Ange reach the truth. Features the return of virtually the whole Cast Herd, the first appearance of six-year-old Ange, yet another new text color, and Multiple Endings.
      • Nocturne of the Truth and Illusions. Gives the Chiru arcs the same PS3 treatment that Rondo gave the first four arcs.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni Tsubasa (When the Seagulls Cry: Wings). A fan disc containing extra short stories (TIPS), released alongside Twilight.
    • Umineko no Naku Koro ni Hane (When the Seagulls Cry: Feathers). A fan disc containing two TIPS that were not in Tsubasa, released alongside Ougon Musoukyoku Cross
  • Ougon Musoukyoku (Umineko: Golden Fantasia). A PC fighting game featuring the Umineko cast similar to the aforementioned Higurashi Daybreak and games like Melty Blood. Released at the 2010 winter Comiket.
    • An Xbox 360 port, Ougon Musoukyoku X, featuring Jessica, George, and Rosa as additional characters.
    • A third expansion, Ougon Musoukyoku CROSS, was released December 31, 2011, which, in addition to the characters added in X, also adds in three new characters (Erika, Dlanor and a culprit version of Battler), plus three other characters (Will, Bernkastel, Lambdadelta) which were unlocked with another expansion in Spring 2012.
  • Alongside Nocturne of Truth and Illusions and Ougon Musoukyoku CROSS is a booklet entitled Our Confession, which confirms the answers to several of the riddles presented in the main story proper.

    When They Cry 5-: Ciconia 
Unlike the previous two series, the setting of Ciconia is in the future. A century has passed after the notorious World War III, humanity is starting to recover, with new technologies being born and more peaceful methods are being made to reduce the chance of another war happening as much as possible. The Aerial Judgement Infantries, also known as Gauntlet Knights, are entrusted with the duty of protecting the Walls of Peace, working in five different factions around the world.Each part of the story is divided into "Phases" instead of the usual Arcs, and there are four Phases in total:
  • For You, the Replacable Ones (代わりのいる君たちへ).

Between 2016 and 17 was published Hotarubi no Tomoru Koro ni, a 4-volume manga drawn by Koike Nokuto and published in the magazine Monthly Action. It features an Alternate Continuity version of Higurashi's character Takano.

2016 also saw the release of TRianThology ~Sanmenkyou no Kuni no Alice~, a visual novel co-written by Romeo Tanaka, Ryuukishi07 and Yuuto Tonokawa, who already collaborated on Rewrite. While not offically part of the franchise, it visibly takes place in the same universe.

2018 saw the announcement of two more installments: A new installment of Umineko, and an entirely new installment of the franchise titled Ciconia no Naku Koro ni ("When the Storks Cry"), which released on October 3, 2019.

For examples and series-specific notes, please see Higurashi: When They Cry and Umineko: When They Cry. Also see The Unforgiving Flowers Blossom in the Dead of Night, a manga/visual novel penned by Ryukishi07, and Rose Guns Days, a visual novel by 07th Expansion, neither of which are related to the main series games.

Compare to the Nasuverse, another famous series of visual novels. For two similar series with dark and gruesome stories, see Danganronpa and Corpse Party.

This series provides examples of:

  • The '80s: Higurashi takes place in 1983, while Umineko takes place in 1986.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Is more-or-less guaranteed to happen to at least one character in an adaptation.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Mion and Shion's Abusive Grandparent, Oryou. Oryou has a Hidden Heart of Gold.
    • Rosa Ushiromiya is shown to have her reasons for being so abusive (even though her behavior still isn't excusable).
  • All There in the Manual: The TIPS as well as different arcs that are unique to one medium only.
  • Anyone Can Die: Multiple times, in fact.
  • Arc: The repetitions. The main games and anime are divided into "Question Arcs" and "Answer Arcs", each of the latter corresponding to one of the former but using different perspectives to solve various mysteries.
  • Bad Future: Himatsubushi-hen, Yoigoshi-hen, and Onisarashi-hen and its spinoffs, as well as simply the endings for most of the other arcs for Higurashi. Ange's part in Umineko shows a future where only her aunt Eva came back alive from Rokkenjima and pretty much ruined Ange's life.
  • Badass Family: The Sonozakis and the Ushiromiyas, respectively.
  • Cute and Psycho: As a general rule, the cuter the girl, the more disturbing The Reveal is going to be.
  • Death Is Cheap: Initially it seems this way, since the "Groundhog Day" Loop is in effect, but in both series, it's subverted. The characters may be alive and kicking again at the beginning of each arc, but their selves who died in the previous world are actually dead for good. Played with, discussed, and even further subverted in the cases of Higurashi's Rika and characters in Umineko's meta-world.
  • Death of a Child: Just because you're a youngster, don't think for a second that your safety is guaranteed. Child characters are just as likely to be killed as adult characters in this franchise.
  • In Umineko, this trope is weaponized by Bernkastel in EP5. Battler, who's had his protagonist status taken away from him, fights to regain it from Bernkastel's piece Erika.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Both Higurashi and Umineko introduce supernatural concepts that are later revealed to have more mundane explanations behind them, though each series does this in different ways.
    • In Higurashi, several characters (including Rena) believe that the murders are being carried out by the village's local god Oyashiro-sama. Oyashiro-sama does exist, but has no involvement in the murders; they're actually caused by a disease that makes people violent and paranoid and eventually becomes a Hate Plague.
    • In Umineko, Battler's goal in the "games" he plays with Beatrice and the other witches is to break "the illusion of the witch" (AKA the argument that the murders were all caused by supernatural forces) and explain the murders with one or several human culprits. The Core Arcs later offer more mundane explanations for the magical elements that were introduced in the Question Arcs. As for the witches and the Meta-World, whether or not they actually exist is pretty much left for the reader to decide.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Ryukishi07 is fond of putting his characters through the wringer. This just makes it all the more worth it when the happy ending is finally achieved in Higurashi.
  • Expy: Higurashi's own notable one is Chie-sensei, who is a Homage to Ciel from Tsukihime.
  • Expy Coexistence:
    • Bernkastel and Lambdadelta are basically a villainous version of the Rika-Satoko duo, with Lambda also looking like a young Takano (as well as having the same voice actor and a similar Meaningful Name).
    • Jessica shares many traits with Mion.
    • Maria is a young Rena in more ways than one.
    • Amakusa is one of Higurashi's Men in Black called Hibari 13.
    • Featherine, who is made to make the readers wrack their brains over a (probably non-existent) connection with Hanyū.
  • Hand Sliding Down the Glass: Combined with Bloody Handprint in the first arc, when we see Keiichi's bloodstained hand slide down the interior of the phone booth where he's calling Ooishi from.
  • Invisible to Normals:
    • For most of Higurashi, Hanyuu can only be seen by Rika. She eventually takes on a more solid appearance and starts going to school with the other characters.
    • Witches and other magical beings to some extent in Umineko can only be seen by certain people since from a mundane perspective, many of them are Imaginary Friends.
  • Lucky Charms Title - The red "Na" in Naku Koro ni is officially part of the title, as is the red "b" in Higurashi Daybreak and the red "C" in the franchise title, When They Cry.
  • Mood Whiplash: Higurashi's arcs always begin cute and light-hearted and end… less cute and less light-hearted. Umineko follows a similar pattern in the first four arcs, but much less so in Chiru.
  • Multiple Endings: In Umineko, you are given the choice between a "trick" ending and a "magic" ending at the very end. In Higurashi, this may be the case if you consider Matsuribayashi (the original ending) and Miotsukushi (the PS2 ending) to be equally valid.
    • Some of the Higurashi arcs in later installments also gain multiple endings. For instance, there is an alternative ending to the Cotton-Drifting/Eye-Opening duo of arcs in which Keiichi guesses correctly that it is in fact Shion who is torturing everyone and imprisoning him, not Mion. It has just as poor an ending for Keiichi (ie, still dead), but the subsequent events take a very different turn.
  • The Multiverse: The sea of Fragments. Each Fragment represents an alternate reality, and there are quadrillions of them. The Groundhog Day Loops in both series actually use this.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In Higurashi, it's the warning alarm that everything is about to go horribly wrong. In Umineko it signals a change in the chemistry between Beatrice and Battler but it's also a clue that someone's testimony can't be taken seriously.
  • Painting the Medium: In Umineko, anything said in "Red text" is true. Don't ask me how the concept of red text makes any sense to people speaking out loud, but that's how even they refer to it. Blue text also eventually gets a special rule attached to it. In the anime, when red or blue text is being used it appears in front of the person speaking.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Ryukishi07 himself used to be a social worker, and in Higurashi he apologizes in a side note for playing this trope straight in regards to Satoko's situation. In Umineko this is averted, but Rosa tries to keep them away so they won't find out that she's not a very good parent towards Maria.
  • Story to Gameplay Ratio: The original computer games' is 1:0. They're more or less novels; the only trait that could merit calling these "games" is the fact that they happen to be software. The video game console ports and installments for Higurashi add the slightest bit of gameplay to decide what path you're stuck on for that reading and in the second and third games in the DS remakes, determine your ending in some arcs. Umineko doesn't get any gameplay added to it in its remakes, and the only choices the player can make are in EP8 during the puzzle minigame and towards the end, which determines one of two endings to the series.
  • Switched at Birth: In Umineko Rudolf somehow switched the children of his wife Asumu (who was stillborn) and of his mistress and current wife Kyrie (who gave birth to Battler), making it look like Battler was Asumu's child. In Higurashi, it's not exactly a case of switch at birth, but rather of a Twin Switch gone wrong Shion took the place of her sister for a special event and received the Oni tattoo by mistake, forcing her to become Mion for the rest of her life.
  • Tempting Fate: Wishing that friendship, happiness and peace would last forever is certain to summon a Knight of Cerebus.
  • Tsundere: Rosa can't decide whether she loves her daughter or wishes she was never born.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The golden rule for the games is pretty much: don't trust anything you see/read/hear until you go through the answer arc (Higurashi) or until something is confirmed that you can trust it (Umineko).
    • In Umineko, anything the main character sees with his own eyes, (as in, is narrated in first person) is the gospel truth. Similarly, anything presented with red text is the gospel truth. Anything that does not fall into one of those two categories may or may not be true, and in fact may not even be such than the statement "That scene really happened that way" is true or false.
    • In Higurashi this is used a lot in the question arcs, simply put, in any of the first 3 novels, from the point where it begins to get weird or scary, it means the main character is hallucinating, being fooled, or anything of the like.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Higurashi:
    • Umineko has Maria's "uu-". This isn't just a random noise, however, since Maria believes that it's a spell for happiness. The sound of it irritates Rosa to the point that she'll hit Maria for saying it too much, and it's one of the reasons why other children bully her.
  • Whodunnit to Me?: The whole plot of Higurashi is about Rika finding out who kills her in every single world; in Umineko, the final riddle Beatrice gives to Battler in Alliance of the Golden Witch is to find out who kills him even though he is the last person alive on the island.