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When They Cry: Complete Box Set
When They Cry Complete Box Set
Genres: Anime & Manga
NR     2009     10hr 50min

Studio: Funimation Prod Inc Release Date: 08/25/2009 Run time: 624 minutes


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Movie Details

Genres: Anime & Manga
Sub-Genres: Anime & Manga
Studio: Funimation/Geneon Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/25/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 10hr 50min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaDVD Credits: 6
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Japanese, English, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A fresh take on the "cutesy characters murdering the hell ou
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 10/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

""When They Cry", or "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni" (When the Cicadas Cry) is a unique murder-mystery anime series based on a popular Japanese video game. And how do video game adaptations usually fare, class? Well, consider the curse shattered. This is the best animated horror not named Hellsing that I have seen in many years and the opening credit sequence is wonderful and reportedly features backmasking in the industrial-tinged theme song. Creepy!

The first 5 episodes of this anime are beyond fabulous and the story is told in amazingly bold form. It closely resembles both The Wicker Man and Rosemary's Baby in tone and themes, but Higurashi adds that brand of cloying cuteness that can only be found in anime which only manages to accentuate the disturbing content. There have been two seasons total that have aired in Japan with a third just beginning and an OVA (original video animation) planned as well. Here in America, we've only had the first season so far. This is the season I'll be reviewing.

Keichi is a transfer student making friends at his new school in the village of Hinamizawa. he's already found his way into a club of energetic girls who play games and enact embarrassing punishments on the loser. It's adorable. But the village has secrets. Lots of 'em. And nearly as many endearing characters to go with those buried secrets. Each year they hold a celebration known as The Drifting Cotton Festival . Each year somebody dies on that night and another disappears altogether. Nobody talks about it. It is simply dismissed as the curse of the village's guardian deity, Oyashiro, and those who vanish are referred to as having been "spirited away by the demon". The more Keichi learns, the more frightening the first story arc in the anime becomes. Who are his new friends and why have they been connected to every single victim? "When They Cry" is a tale (several, actually) of paranoia, secrets & lies (gotta have those), mystery, and suspense so thick that a cherubic anime girl could cut with a very large cleaver. And that's just in the first part of a story that will be retold in many different ways.

What sets this apart from any other murder-mystery I've seen is that we see the ending (one of many more to come) at the finish of the first four episodes. After that, time is rewound and we are taken back to the beginning to see a different sequence of events play out and fall in love with the characters all over again in spite of knowing (part of) the horrible truth. The cast bugged me for the first 10 minutes or so with their cutesy character designs and cliche anime mannerisms, but by the end of the first episode, I was hooked on Higurashi. And it wasn't just the people clawing their own throats open. It's the fright of seeing a typically darling girl for this medium turn into a menacing entity for just a second before switching back to her saccharine self as though nothing at all had happened. Or the way their pupils narrow cat-like into slits as they innocently (or maybe not) point out similarities between Keichi and the last student to "transfer" away from the school without a trace. The first climax in episode four will drop your jaw, guaranteed. But by the end of the very next twenty minutes, all will be forgiven and you will again be wrapped up in the sweetness of the same characters whose lives you just saw end horrifically. Just another day. And another. And another. It's like Groundhog Day with more darling anime girl murderers.

The cast is outstanding and expansive, and each retold story tends to focus on a different character or aspect of the village. Some arcs are prequels or sequels to other arcs or link up with them in ways that change your perception of a given event. For example, there are a pair of identical twins within a yakuza family who are fond of switching roles with each other, so you never really know which one you are seeing. Confusing, but intriguing. Other arcs are entirely apart from the rest and seem to be based on alternate dimension scenarios. This theory is given credence in the season's last episodes. The inner workings and history of Hinamizawa are chilling and each story adds to this. Then there is the violence. Sweet, sweet violence. Adorable characters being tortured mercilessly or found with their entrails hanging out while birds feast upon them and the occasional baseball bat murder are the norm here. The show always has something disturbing waiting for you around the next corner. And after that: more disturbing.

The relationships between the characters are important and spiderwebish in their intricacy. It seems that everybody in Hinamazawa is connected to each other. It is a small isolated town, after all. This makes for a great setting that allows the characters to breathe. It also keeps you guessing about what combination of characters will die in any given story and how. Will it be the nosy photographer and his beautiful companion from out-of-town? Okay, so they never live. One can always hope. Maybe little Satoko-chan will get gutted this time out while she pines for her "Nii-Nii", the brother who mysteriously "transferred" out after their parents were killed at the festival and he murdered their cruel uncle. But no, not the sweetheart priestess Rika?!?! Oh, sucks to go out like that! Man, this series is fun and sadistic.

"When They Cry" is a psychotic good time filled with mystery, murder, and cuteness. Lots of cuteness. On occasion it goes over-the-top and becomes unintentionally comedic and seeing the story play out with the same setting and characters over and over may wear on some viewers over time. The final arc is the weakest and fizzles out at the end just when it seems ready to serve up the biggest buffet of horror yet, which is disappointing to say the least. But at the end of season one, I am definitely up for more, though I do wish the rest of the season had been as strong as that first series of episodes. Having read reviews of future seasons, I've been greeted with the notion that Higurashi does indeed get old, but as of now it's a fantastic and intricate horror anime that murder-mystery fans need to check out.

4 1/2 stars rounded down because variety is the spice of life."
Absolutely Shocking but Awesome at the same time!
Richard Meeks | 10/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This anime is by far one of the most unique and orginal ones I have ever seen. The story is so deep and vast that you will probably have to watch it a 2nd time through to find out the true details. I got this while at an anime convention in Dallas, TX and I saw it at a Funimation Booth. I decided to give it a try because the synopsis sounded interesting and I am very glad I did. The story is set in 1983 in a village outside of Japan. The series revolves around a re-occuring 8 main characters that are vastly connected to one another. What will blow your mind though is how the story has been "spliced" if you will, into various fragments and is told through each characters point of view. The sets of episodes that focus on one exact sub-story of the main story are called "Arcs" and will restart to a new after so many episodes. In the beginning you will be drawn to a certain arc but will only be confused as the characters that were killed or left at the end of it, all of a sudden reappear and the story resets for the next one. What is revealed though is that they are actually taking places at different perspectives and it will all come together in the end to reveal the true story of why these things have been occuring/past occuring (Still with me? ^^).

The characters also are so well potrayed that at many moments I found myself and my friend (whom I watched it with) actually cheering at certain parts for the main hero of that arc. It is a great anime but a very violent and dark one at that. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR CHILDREN OR CERTAIN PEOPLE FOR THAT MATTER. Each arc will always start off slow but will build up to a bloody conclusion or shocking ending. I was amazed at just how deep they went with the violence of these children for such a setting. Some may be turned off by the story but if you are into mysteries, love horror, and enjoy character developement and deep stories than definitely check this out."
Innovative murder mystery series with a real twist
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 11/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""When They Cry" ("Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni" or "When the Cicadas Cry," a colorful term meaning the summertime in Japan when the cicada's cry can be almost deafening) is one of the most unique adaptations I have seen of the Japanese computer game-type known as a visual novel.

Visual novels (although in the case of "Higurashi no Naku Koro" it was called a "sound novel" due to its use of mood-setting music and sound effects) are kind of like "Choose your own adventure" books for the computer. Players get a standard plotline that can be resolved in different ways based on conversations they have with other characters and choices they make in the game. In the case of "When They Cry," the game was a murder-mystery where the killer and victims could be any number of people depending on how the game was played. The anime for "When They Cry" replicated this by making a series of story arcs, each which resolves the main story in a different style.

The basic set-up is always the same. Five friends live in the small village of Hinamizawa home of the summer festival known as Watanagashi where bits of cotton are floated down the stream to do away with bad memories. Keiichi is a young boy who has recently moved to the village, where he quickly befriends a group of four girls, Rena, Mion, Satoko, and Rika. Things start out innocently enough, but slowly Keiichi learns of a local legend of a village curse by someone named Oyashiro, and that every year on the Watanagashi festival someone is murdered and someone disappears forever.

The twenty-six episode box set has six story arcs, "Spirited Away by Demons, "Cotton Drifting," "Curse Killing," "Time Killing," "Eye Opening (Actually "Cotton Drifting" told from a different point of view) and "Attonment." Each story arc starts on a sunny day on the way to school, and ends with bloody murder. The plots can vary quite wildly, with only a few elements linking together each of the story arcs.

When you first watch "When They Cry," this can be somewhat disconcerting. At the end of one episode all of the main characters are thrown down wells or chopped up into pieces, only to have them whole and healthy at the beginning of the next story arc with no mention of what you have just watched. Once you get into the rhythm of the series, this cycle becomes comfortable and it is fun wondering who will be the killer and who will be killed this time around. There is even a little meta-joke in the series, as the friends are members of a club who play a game like Clue, trying to guess who the killer, location and weapon will be in the game.

There is a sharp contrast between the cutesy character designs and the foul play that eventually ends the story arcs. With the first episode, I was almost annoyed at the characters because they seemed like every fluffy bunny stereotype of anime girls you could possibly imagine. This only made it more fun however when the baseball bats started swinging and the blood started flowing. The series really took me by surprise when it made its dark turn.

The story arcs aren't entirely separate. Each one introduces some new elements of the characters that might be carried over into the next story arc, like Mion's twin sister, Shion who appears to complicate the situation. Even if the story doesn't flow, the character development does.
Slow but eventually awesome
S. L. Duenas | Santa Fe Springs, CA USA | 03/02/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This anime can be slow and confusing at times but overall it becomes good. As i watched it there were times in which i was losing interest in it but it always managed to hook me again. That reason for these moments of boredom is because of how the show is structured. It is done in separate arcs or mini stories in which we see the same events unfold in different ways. In each arc the story is restarted and goes from the characters having fun and develops from there until it ends in tragedy. After watching each arc i found myself more confused and intrigued. The first arcs are known as question arcs and there are later arcs that are called answer arcs although they dont always answer questions but instead offer similar circumstances to a previous question arc but with some differences and a different resolution. I think that in this set only the last two are considered answer arcs. i would have to check to be sure. After watching this series you might feel confused and disappointed because you never find out what exactly is occuring even at the end. This is because there is a second season of the series called Higurashi no Naku Koro ni kai which continues the story with more answer arcs. As of right know i dont think it has been released in the US but hopefully it will be because it completes the series and explains the reason why everything happened. So in conclusion when they cry is a good anime that I found to be interesting most of the time. Some people might not like the art style or how the story arcs are structured so it isnt an anime for everyone. But for me its only flaw was that it didnt have the complete story. But that's resolved by watching the second season. So if you dont mind an anime with little or no action that is slow to progress and provide answers and will leave you with more questions and confusion than answers at the end of it you'll probably enjoy this anime and will eagerly await the second part.
I apologize if this review is poorly structured and kind of random. It is the 1st i've ever written and i hope it isn't too confusing and that it is helpful to those thinking about buying when they cry."