Higurashi: A VN, Anime and Manga Comparison (Part 2)

First of all, sorry for the long delay in updating! Since the Christmas holidays are nearing I’ve been busy doing all of my work for my university! None the less, I promise I’ll be updating regularly from now!

Now, while taking the screenshots for the VN I came across a tiny problem. You see, there are two ways you can read the Higurashi VN series and that’s 1. The PC version or 2. The PS2 version. Both are as different as night and day and the fanbase seems to be quite divided in which one they prefer. For instance the PC version has graphics and artwork done by the creator, Ryukishi07, while the PS2 version has updated graphics by Alchemist as well as dialogue by the voice actors/actresses from the anime. I’ve decided I’m going to be fair and, when doing the screenshots, use both the PC and PS2 graphics!

Day 1 (Part One)/Episode 1 (Part Two)

Visual Novel

. So after the ominous prologue, the VN then takes us to Keiichi on a train ride back home, after visiting the city for a relative’s funeral. As well as talking about how he felt to be back in the city again, he also comments on how he can hear a woman’s voice apologising over and over again. When the apologising continues, Keiichi starts wondering why the person she apologises to just won’t forgive her already.

You and me both, K1, you and me both. Frankly, I’m surprised no one else on the train has told the woman to shut up already and the person she’s apologising too to stop been a little bitch about it all! Everyone else must be hearing this woman as well, right? …Right?

And that right there is what makes this scene so important! As you continue to read Keiichi’s thoughts, you begin to wonder if the apologising woman is real or if Keiichi was just imagining her; especially since his dad wakes him up shortly after the monologue. At first, this scene seems rather long-winded and, dare I say it, like a ‘Big Lipped Alligator Moment’, since the whole scene is rather out of place and Keiichi never mentions it again after he departs the train with his dad. However, it’s actually an important scene because it comes back into play further on in the VN in a very creepy way!

Now back in his hometown, Hinamizawa, it begins with Keiichi waking up and getting ready to go to school. In the VN there’s a lot of information that gives us an insight into Keiichi’s character. Such as how he used to be rather rebellious when living back in the city and his feelings regarding his dad who’s an artist. He also goes into a lot of detail about his love for Hinamizawa and how he prefers his new home to the old city, something which I personally find rather refreshing since it’s almost become a cliché to have a character move from the city to small town life and hate it instantly (I’m looking at you, Bella Swan!)

After having his breakfast Keiichi then leaves to meet his friend, Rena Ryugu, outside.

Anime

. The anime, no doubt due to time constraints, leaves out the scene with Keiichi and his dad on the train. Understandable but still a shame since I’m sure, with the bonus of the voice acting, it would have done a great job at really playing up the mysteriousness of the scene. Or maybe they were worried about giving too much away because of that, but then that would bring into question why they’d then show Keiichi killing Mion and Rena right at the beginning, so who knows!

Watching the anime again, I found that one of its biggest flaws was far more noticeable. If the VN’s flaw is that it can sometimes have too much, needless information, then the anime’s is that it’s too brief in what it shows.

The scene showing Keiichi getting ready and talking about Hinamizawa is really cut down to the point that only a minute at best is spared to it. Keiichi’s thoughts regarding his parents are completely left out and, as a result, the Keiichi we see in the anime is sometimes almost like a different character, something that rings true for the rest of the cast as well. But, again, it’s perfectly understandable why they can’t keep everything in.

Manga

. The manga manages to keep in the train scene but, unlike the VN, takes out the ‘is it real-is it not?’ mystery about it and pretty much makes it clear that something right is not going on. Does this ruin the scene? No, but it does change the readers outlook on it and bring in the creepy factor far earlier then the VN does. Also, thanks to dark shading and shadows in the artwork, it really intensifies the feeling of foreboding that the prologue introduced.

The manga, compared to the anime, condenses Keiichi’s narration rather leave it all out. The information we’re given is still not even near the amount we get from the VN, but it at least keeps in the important, or interesting bits. At least regarding Hinamizawa. Anything about his parents is still left out and Keiichi in the manga only has one panel with his mum, the majority of the scene focusing on shots of Hinamizawa itself. Rather than take away from this scene it’s actually quite nice and adds to the carefree, environment that Higurashi has in the moments it’s not filled with mystery and horror.

And that’s the end of the second part! Next part we’re introduced to Keiichi’s group of friends!

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