Well it is over. It has been a fair wait but When They Cry concludes with Higurashi no Naku Koroni Kai Part 2 and when I say conclude, I mean it.
Like every component of this brilliantly conceived, plotted and executed series, Part 2 begins in an unknown place with new characters and a completely new angle. In the first episode of this part alone, a lot is revealed regarding the syndrome plaguing the city and its supposed mythology, as well as the motivations behind it. It proves enlightening and unexpected, but this by no means signifies that the remaining episodes are filler; on the contrary they wrap the series up perfectly.
The action and intensity ramp up in this concluding chapter, it is decidedly darker and much less compromising than previous episodes with a strong focus on violence and visceral elements. This proves a welcome departure from the saturation of mystery and eeriness as now that we know what drives it, the show is smart enough to ditch these conventions and delve to the heart of the matter in an action packed and thrilling way.
Although the story excitingly ramps up the action, When They Cry Part 2 still focuses on the core protagonists, redefining the game changing players and retains its developmental strength as a result. A completely new character enters the mix in a non-obtrusive or contrived way and it is great to watch how it is handled. The loose ends keep you engaged as the series could end in any possible way at this point, as a loyal fan, following each episode and story arc it is a tense enough exercise to see how it will all play out, and watching total background characters become vital to the plot has also been an unexpected joy.
There are enough twists and turns to satisfy an anime of this calibre and each one is treated with the upmost care. As always the series is perfectly plotted right from the start middle and end of each episode to cater and explain without exposition everything that is happening, drawing back to every past event and character, and revisiting scenes, events and memories.
The ending is extraordinarily satisfying, and as someone who has invested time and energy in the series I can say there will be no disappointments. When They Cry is easily one of the best modern anime series. The attention to detail, exponential character development, and twisted crisis scenarios mixed with the metaphysical is handled and balanced extremely well. It has been a pleasure reviewing this series and a great relief to heartily recommend all four parts of this incredible story.
Stay tuned for my colleague Ard Vijn's take.