Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai – 01
OP: 「奈落の花」 (Naraku no Hana) by 島みやえい子 (Shimamiya Eiko)
Great new Eiko song – it’s not as freaky as her song for the first season, though. The OP itself doesn’t seem to be as well done as the first, but that’s not saying much – the OP sequence of the first season was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Apologies in advance if I butcher any translations.
Enter Mamoru Asakasa, the forgettable police detective who had the run-in with ni-paa Rika way back when. It’s about 30 years after the events of the first season, and he’s back in Hinamizawa to check up on the status of the now-deserted town. The first 15 minutes of the episode involve Asakasa, old ass Ooishi, and Asakasa’s useless assistant as they walk around the various sites in Hinamizawa recounting the events of the first series. The lake area has been completely filled up with concrete to curb the flow of poisonous gas, the hospital is in shambles, and the shrine is a wreck. There’s some talk about aliens and a psycho girl with a big ass cleaver somewhere in there too.
Of course, this is all to explain the so-called “Curse of Oyashiro-sama.” For those who never got around to watching the first season, this curse involves people in the village dying every year on the night of their annual festival. The first season takes us through several different plotlines and the mainly BAD END endings that come as a result of the curse.
The three men pull up to the boro boro school and walk in, where they are meeting up with… adult Rena! She has the ultimate look of the damaged goods moe mode, and plays it off quite convincingly. After a few minutes of lethargic verbal abuse from Ooishi, we get our first glimpse of the psychorena facial contortion that made the first season so famous.
I should point out that Rena is probably in her early 40s. Dayamn.
They continue talking, focusing on Rena’s past encounters with the ni-paa chick and how both of them went psychosaiyan on each other. Poor Rena, seemingly the only survivor of the alien invasion in the first season is still unable to let go of her past and those good ol’ days before everyone went Oyashiro on each other.
And that’s it. No cliffhanger, no preview, no idea what’s happening next episode besides what must be an inevitable return to killer lolis.
ED: 「対象 a」 (Taishou a) by anNina
As others have already mentioned, this first episode is an anime-exclusive story meant to fill in the holes between the first and second seasons – I doubt a 15 minute romp through the ol’ sandbox with 3 old men would make for some good gameplay. As slow as it was, it was admittedly a necessary episode, especially for those who have not watched the first series, now considered to be a cult classic with its infamous “USO DA” line. Seeing grown-up Rena was definitely a surprise for me, and she didn’t fail to deliver the goods as we are treated to a few seconds of adult psychorena. I wonder if she’s on medication or just that messed up? Either way, she’s an absolute mess, much to my delight.
So what’s the verdict? Much like the other first episodes, it’s too early to tell. The presence of regular-aged Rena and the other girls in the OP suggests that the time frame of this first ep is actually the future, rather than the present. The anime will probably continue by first flashing back to finish up a few of the arcs that weren’t covered in the first season, and then move on to some other material. In other words, more of the same. If you couldn’t get enough of the first season, well – you’re getting another full load of psychotic killer lolis and baseball bat swinging practice. And maybe more Mion in her waitress outfit.
That said, I got tired of the first season about two thirds through, and left the last third sitting on my hard drive until this morning when I decided to marathon the rest of it. The whole shock factor that was killer lolis just wore off for me, and it felt like the various arcs were a bit too similar in nature. Granted that the way each arc played out was unique enough to be distinguished, and understanding that I was completely blown away by the first two or three arcs, it just seemed all too repetitive for me after a while.
Plus, I like happy animes. Happy animes inspire me to write blog entries. Animes like Higurashi make me want to stab myself. Since Lucky Star and Nagasarete (the two I’m currently blogging) will both run until the fall season rolls around, I’ll probably just stick with those two, and possibly pick up Umisho or Sky Girls, with Umisho the clear favorite right now (and not just because of the clear difference in cup sizes). Still, I’ll give Higurashi another few episodes to prove itself to me, but outside of some epic omgwtf moment, the most it’s getting is a place on the monthly power rankings.
No plans to post the OP/ED – sorry!