Higurashi no naku koro ni, also known simply as When They Cry in North America, is a Japanese visual novel produced by 07th Expansion. A complex series, we have decided to dive you a proper Higurashi watch order, but before we do that, we have to explain the structure of the whole series. The games are based on the NScripter graphics engine and can be run on Microsoft Windows. The first game in the series, titled Onikakushi-hen, was released on August 10, 2002, while the eighth and final game, titled Matsuribayashi-hen, was released on August 13, 2006.
The first four games were collected under the title Higurashi no naku koro ni, while the last four were under the title Higurashi no naku koro ni kai. An extra fan disc, named Higurashi no naku koro ni rei, was released on December 31, 2006. In addition to the original series, new story arcs have been created in the manga and video game versions for PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS to expand the story.
The eight original PC games were published in English by MangaGamer, which released the first four on December 15, 2009, and the last four on February 28, 2010. The series is based on a group of young friends and strange events that they happen in the rural village of Hinamizawa where they live. Two sets of Drama CDs were produced, one by Wayuta and one by Frontier Works.
The literary transposition of the games was published by Kōdansha Box between August 2, 2007, and March 8, 2009. The manga version based on the games, started by eight different mangakas who worked separately on one or three of the various narrative arcs, was published by Square Enix and Kadokawa Shoten.
Two anime series, based on the Japanese manga, were produced by Studio Deen in 2006 and 2007 respectively; a third anime was released as an OVA in 2009. Several additional seasons and OVAs have been released, expanding the storyline and in this article, we are going to give you a proper watch order for the Higurashi series.
Higurashi watch order by release date
In this section, we are going to bring you an overview of the Higurashi works in the proper release order:
- When They Cry (2006)
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Nekogoroshi-hen (OVA, 2007)
- When They Cry: Kai (2007)
- When They Cry: Rei (2009)
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira (2011–12)
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak (OVA, 2013)
- Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou (2020–21)
- Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu (2021)
In the next part of this article, we are going to tell you how you should watch the series in chronological order.
Higurashi chronological watch order
Since the timeline of the Higurashi series is quite complex, making the chronology basically indeterminable, we have deiced to simply give you the best watch order, which actually coincided with the release order of the series:
When They Cry (2006)
The young Keiichi Maebara moves with his family to the rural town of Hinamizawa; here he meets and soon makes friends with 4 girls, who are also his classmates in the new school he attends: Rena Ryūgū – she too recently went to live there – Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Houjou – the youngest of the group – and finally Rika Furude.
The boy immediately joins their after-school club – where they mostly play together – and life goes on apparently quiet until a man who is a professional photographer, Jirou, tells him the dark story concerning a murder. outstanding which occurred in the country 5 years ago. He thus learns about the history of the construction project, which went upstream, of a dam that was to have submerged the whole of Hinamizawa; but after the project manager was found murdered, the government interrupted the process, also following the vehement protests of the local population.
Keiichi, when he finds himself asking Rena and Mion about the incidents that occurred then, unexpectedly finds himself in front of a wall of silence; the two friends evade the questions, indeed they categorically refuse to talk about it and this strange fact suddenly makes the boy very suspicious.
While he is then together with Rena at the landfill, in an attempt to retrieve a mannequin that the girl wishes to have from under the mountains of waste, he happens by chance under the eyes of the old magazines that talk about the fact of blood that happened in the village: the person responsible of the project for the construction of the dam had been cut to pieces with blows of an ax and the culprit was never found. The killer is therefore still at large and most likely lives there in the village among all the others.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Nekogoroshi-hen (OVA, 2007)
This is a special chapter included in the DVD release (although it can be seen on the net), which serves as a link between the first and second seasons since it provides data absent in the main series. In it, Keiichi and his friends first appear playing club activities, where in the end everyone loses and gets punished. On the way home, they take a path that Keiichi was unaware of.
Upon reaching a certain point, Mion tells a story from his past, in which several boys were playing in a place near a mine, however, a man arrives and forces them to leave. Mion finds out the next day that the body of one of the boys along with his father had been found in the mine.
When They Cry: Kai (2007)
Mamoru Akasaka, Ooishi, and the assistant visit the abandoned village in 2007. They learn about the great disaster of Hinamizawa that has decimated the city and the connection with Document no. 34 by Takano. Rena, now an adult, survived the disaster as she was detained at the police station during the incident. She shares with them what little she knows about Rika’s strange behavior shortly before the alleged “gas leak”. Eventually, Akasaka remembers her meeting with Rika. The episode serves as a direct epilogue to the chapter on atonement.
In 1983, the boys participate in a game of catch. On the way home, they meet Irie, Tomitake, and Takano, who tells Keiichi about some murders. The boy understands why his friends have kept it from him and he is upset. However, all this fails to reassure Rika, who becomes more and more depressed as she approaches the day of the festival. Eventually, Satoko tells Rika the same line Keiichi said to Rena during the Atonement story arc but she can’t remember the event as it belongs to another timeline.
When They Cry: Rei (2009)
After forgetting to pack the swimsuit and before entering the water park, Keiichi wears a costume that has the magical ability to attract women to those who write their names on it. Mion hears from her uncle that Keiichi has written his name on his head and will eventually fall in love with himself. After most of the unsuccessful attempts, the girls convince Tomitake, Ooishi, and Irie to take off Keiichi’s costume. As the three fight for the magical robe, completely naked Keiichi refuses to wear the spare one in the shape of a swan.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira (2011–12)
The episode serves as a parody of the first season. Keiichi finds himself in a classroom after losing for the umpteenth time in a game with girls and as a penance he must remain dressed as a policeman, but Tomitake, Irie, and Ooishi arrive and try to make him a winner. The four begin to imagine various particular penances towards most of the female characters and end up making perverse speeches.
However, the rather developed fantasies end up making Keiichi a victim of a series of events bordering on logic. Eventually, the boy wakes up at a school desk late in the evening and discovers that it was all the result of a nightmare, but Tomitake, Irie, and Ooishi appear before him, and propose to help him overcome the difficulties, so Keiichi breaks up. go to a desperate cry for the repetition of events.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak (OVA, 2013)
An unknown virus has spread everywhere and officials impose quarantine on Hinamizawa. When the security forces isolate the whole village from the rest of the world, the situation becomes abnormal and the locals blame each other. Irie kills herself after a failed attempt to find a cure for the virus. Eventually, Keiichi and her friends run away from the village, while Rika decides to stay because she wants to watch over the village.
Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou (2020–21)
Satoko has finally rescued from her uncle Teppei thanks to the combined efforts of Keiichi and his friends. Guided by the dice of fate, the future seemed to be heading towards the ending Rika had longed for; Rika decides to face her tragic fate alone five more times. In the other world, Rika and her club members visit a toy store in Okinomiya, where she is reunited with an old friend.
The desire for a little happiness. A scene from everyday life that she had obtained once. With a ray of hope, Rika opens her eyes to the final word. When the end of the cycle of death is near, Rika comes to a world where there is no tragedy, where she is free from Oyashiro-sama’s curse, and where Hinamizawa is completely unknown to her.
It is June 1983. The cries of the cicadas are drowned out by the sounds of the festival music, and the endless suffering turns into the joy of victory. Then the clock changes to June 1984. As Satoko enjoys her happy life in Hinamizawa village, Rika tells her a dream that she has been keeping in her heart for a long time. Satoko is taken aback by the sudden confession, but Rika gets the new life she has longed for at Saint Lucia Academy and becomes a popular girl at school.
On the other hand, Satoko, who can no longer keep up with the school culture and her studies, spends her days taking remedial classes. As if drawn by something, Satoko enters the ritual storehouse and is suddenly enveloped in a divine glow. She opens her eyes and realizes that she is standing in a place that is not of this world. Satoko’s lonely battle begins to make her only wish come true: to be with her beloved Rika forever. Over a very long period of time, Satoko has arrived to understand all the aspects surrounding the town of Hinamizawa.
However, unbeknownst to Satoko, a small distortion has begun to form in the Shards… Due to the power granted by “Eua”, Hinamizawa is losing her original status. At one point, the effects reach a certain person.
Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu (2021)
Life in Hinamizawa seems normal. It delves a little deeper into Rena’s past, and her relationship with her parents; Rina Mamiya appears, a mysterious woman who may be a bad influence on Rena’s father. Satoko sets her plan in motion using Rena and her concern for her father. Rena’s obsession begins to magnify. Rina Mamiya makes her last appearance.
Rena begins to suspect that Keichi knows too much and the police start to get on Rena’s nerves. Rena becomes increasingly suspicious of Keichi, which causes her relationship to deteriorate a bit. They have an argument where Rena lets out her iconic “You’re lying” yell. Seeing Keichi worried, Rika suspects that he may be developing Hinamizawa Syndrome, and to prevent it, she advises him not to mistrust Rena. Rena receives a call from Keichi’s mother asking her to take him out to dinner.
Rena brings a dinner that will send Keichi to the hospital. Rika wakes up in the shard world and doesn’t know what happened, she asks for Hanyuu’s help. Satoko improves her relationship with her uncle in order to get the material needed for her next plans. This time Satoko chooses Mion as her piece. Shion makes her appearance in this arc. She and Keichi meet, which starts to make Mion slowly lose her health because of her obvious jealousy.
Sources: Higurashi When They Cry – Wikipedia