Higurashi: When They Cry Vol 1 by Ryukishi07 & Suzuragi Manga Review

Title:  Higurashi: When They Cry Vol 1 Abducted by Demons Arc

Story:  Ryukishi07

Art: Karin Suzuragi

Publisher: Yen Press

ISBN: 9780759529830

May Contain Spoilers

Keiichi has just moved to a hick town in the mountains, and he couldn’t be happier.  He’s made some great new friends and the one-room school means that things are constantly chaotic.  He’s even joined the school’s club, so every day after school they hang out and play games.  Things take a more sinister turn when he learns about a mysterious murder that happened years before.  Why does everyone lie to him and tell him that nothing happened?

Higurashi had a hard time holding my attention until the end of this volume.  The mix of stereo-typical characters just didn’t do much for me.  There’s Rena, the cute, timid girl who just moved to Hinamizawa a year before Keiichi did, Mino, who is energetic and constantly thrusting her large breasts in Keiichi’s face, and Satoko, who  makes it her life’s mission to set traps for the unwary Keiichi.  With all of these cute girls around, no wonder he never thinks about homework.

Things are peaceful and idyllic until he meets Tomitake, a freelance photographer.  Tomitake fills him in on a little tidbit of the village’s history – there was a grisly murder a few years before, when a construction company was trying to build a dam in area that would have destroyed the town.  He also discovers that there is a new murder every year during the cotton drifting festival. When he asks his new friends about these unsettling events, they immediately claim to know nothing about it and change the subject.

Keiichi is disturbed by the girls’ reactions, and he is soon obsessed with finding out the truth behind the rumors he’s heard.  When the story focused on the mystery, I thought it was interesting and slightly creepy.  When it drifted back to Keiichi and the gang’s daily activities, I just didn’t find it all that intriguing.    The mesh of personalities didn’t carry the story for me, and the pacing felt very uneven.  The last chapter did make up for much of the shortcomings from earlier in the story, and it piqued my curiosity enough that I want to know what’s going on.

Grade: B-

Rated for Older Teen