Sunday, February 28, 2010
If you've been around the internet, and especially 4chan, you've probably seen this demotivational poster
It may be my morbid sense of humor, or my desire to find out why she's laughing so manically, but this poster made me want to go out and watch this series.
When the Cicadas Cry takes place in Japan over the course of a few days in June of 1983. The main character, Keiichi Maebara, has recently moved from a big city to the tiny town of Hinamizawa and is finally adjusting to life there with the help of his new female friends.
Rena Ryuuguu: A shy, sweet girl with an obsession for cute things. Aggressive when provoked enough.
Mion Sonozaki: An aggressive girl and leader of the club the main characters join. Her family has a very strong influence in the town.
Shion Sonozaki: Mion's twin sister. Has spent most of her life in boarding school in another town.
Satoko Hojo: Self proclaimed "master of traps". A mischievous girl who tries to forget her problems at home.
Rika Furude: A young girl who is made a shrine maiden after her parents died. Mature for her age.
Keiichi's life (and everyone in it) seems pretty normal at this point. He goes to school, hangs out with his friends, cooks dinner; normal, everyday stuff. However, this all changes after the Watanagashi, a yearly festival honoring a local God named Oyashiro that protects the town. Keiichi finds out that two people were murdered on the night of the festival and this isn't the first time this has happened. For the past four years two people have been murdered each festival night. A few years prior to the start of the series, the Japanese government wanted to build a dam that would reroute a local river through Hinamizawa, effectively destroying the town. Obviously there was fervent opposition but a few people wanted to take the compensation the government offered rather than stay in the town. Ever since then, the people who supported the dam have been dying in twos, supposedly by Oyashiro's hand. To make matters worse, Keiichi suspects that his new friends may be involved, and now fears his own life is in danger...
From what you might expect from the poster at the top of the article, this series is not for the faint of heart. There actually aren't a whole lot of gory scenes but the ones that are are quite disturbing, to say the least. I won't go into details here but there were a few times where I would grit my teeth and think to myself “Boy am I glad I'm on the other side of the screen!” Where do these schoolgirls learn how to torture one another anyway? Maybe Japan has different children's programing?
The series is a little hard to follow with the constant restarting. There are 3 different time lines that are presented and each arc keeps switching between them. Usually within the first few minutes you can figure out if it is a new time line or an old one. Whenever a time line is revisited new information is revealed about the characters, the town, and the festival. What you assumed had happened the first time around might be reveled to be completely different. Enemies become friends, and friends become enemies. In Hinamizawa, nothing is what it seems.
Overall, I would at least recommend watching the first and second arc and see if this series appeals to you. If you don't really care what happens by the end of the second arc, nothing that happens afterward is going to justify watching the rest of the series. However, if you find yourself dying to know what's really happening in Hinamizawa, When the Cicadas Cry is an interesting series that will keep you entertained until the very end.