Higurashi When They Cry: Gou Manga Doesn’t Hold Back
Image via Yen Press

Higurashi When They Cry: Gou Manga Doesn’t Hold Back

The Higurashi When They Cry experience is a powerful one. From its sound novel roots and anime adaptation to now the Higurashi When They Cry: Gou manga localization, it forces people to reconcile cute characters and quiet country life with the mysteries and events before them. The first volume essentially offers its takes on the Onidamashi and Watanagashi “question” arcs, and it doesn’t hold back in its retelling of the events.

Recommended Videos

Editor’s Note: There will be mild spoilers for volume 1 of the Higurashi When They Cry: Gou manga below.

Volume 1 of the Higurashi When They Cry: Gou manga sets the tone with three color pages that allude back to the original Onikakushi ending. So even though someone could maybe go into the game or anime blind and have no idea about the nature of the story, there’s no ambiguity here. The fact that Yen Press also used color pages for this portion hammers it home. No matter how cute the characters may be in the ensuing pages and how calm rural Hinamizawa may be, it isn’t. Something’s coming.

But initially, this setup seems great! Keiichi is happy with small town life. It seems like there’s a chance for love with the girl-next-door Rena. There’s a small community of people in Hinamizawa, but they get along well with their friends Mion, Satoko, and Rika. All of the Higurashi When They Cry: Gou characters look adorable, and it practically feels like a slice of life comedy with Satoko’s pranks, the group picnic, and Rena’s excitement of finding the Colonel Sanders KFC mascot statue at the dump. (Kenta-kun!)

Higurashi When They Cry: Gou Manga Doesn’t Hold Back

Image via Yen Press

However, it’s when they meet Kenta-kun that Keiichi also meets the photographer Tomitake mentions a murder. Keiichi learns a brutal assault happened when the government attempted to build a dam there. He tries to ask Rena and Mion about it. That’s when we see the perfect execution of Tomato Akase’s art, as it shows how these characters that were previously adorable a few pages ago suddenly take on this horrifying slant. It’s so much so that it’s otherworldly, and especially evocative due to the fact that these depictions can shift so swiftly. Especially in the case of Rena, who’s set up as the “cutest” character for this first part of the story.

In the second part of volume 1 of the Higurashi When They Cry: Gou manga, the story shifts to Mion. We get to see another side of her, following a chapter dedicated to Rika and her perspective on current events. What’s fascinating is that this one focuses on how well Keiichi and her also fit together. However, we’re also abruptly introduced to Mion’s twin, Shion. But due to the nature of the story and the execution of the art, it leaves us with a whole other sort of mystery. Who is Keiichi spending time with? How are they connected? What is going on with Mion and Shion?

It’s intriguing in that it’s presented as an entirely different type of horror. We’re still seeing how unsettling things are. The situation in Hinamizawa is still uncomfortable, even as much of the story is focusing on Keiichi’s growing relationship with the twins. Again, it not only offers a fascinating comparison in terms of art, but when juxtaposed against what we just experienced in the Onidamashi storyline.

With the Higurashi When They Cry: Gou manga, we get a whole new retelling of the story. It’s one that captures what matters about the story, and all of the situations and mysteries they face. It maintains an atmosphere that can sometimes feel so normal, then drastically shift in tone. It does so in such a way that the artistic direction feels perfect either way. As a result, no punches are pulled and the story remains as powerful as ever.

Volume 1 of the Higurashi When They Cry: Gou manga is available now, and volume 2 will be out on October 17, 2023.

Siliconera is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.