Toru OhkawaHigurashiDaisuke OnoRisa Mizuno
Higurashi When They Cry: Rei
Also known as: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Rei
Medium: OVA, series
Year: 2009
Writer/director: Toshifumi Kawase
Actor: Chafurin, Daisuke Ono, Eiji Maruyama, Eiji Miyashita, Eriko Matsushima, Fujiko Takimoto, Fumiko Orikasa, Hozumi Goda, Jun Konno, Jurota Kosugi, Mai Hashimoto, Mai Nakahara, Mami Ozaki, Manabu Sakamaki, Megumi Matsumoto, Mika Kanai, Miki Ito, Risa Mizuno, Satsuki Yukino, Sayaka Ohara, Soichiro Hoshi, Toru Ohkawa, Toshihiko Seki, Tsubasa Yonaga, Yui Horie, Yukari Tamura, Yu Kobayashi
Keywords: Higurashi, anime, rubbish
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Season 3 (5 episodes)
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 13 November 2019
Well, that was mixed. Half of it was annoying garbage, while a quarter of it was good. (As far as I'm concerned, anyway.)
I don't hate it because it's horrible, by the way. "Horrible" is the point of Higurashi. Complaining about that would be like objecting about the sea being wet. I hate it because too much of it is dumb, annoying and silly. (It's not actually very horrible at all.)
The problem, you see, is that this is Season 3. Our heroes have won. No more killings. No more evil. Everything's okay now. Unfortunately, that's not what the Higurashi audience wants to see. How do you continue the story? Well...
It's like a parody, or a pisstake. Keiichi forgets his swimming trunks on the way to the pool, but fortunately Mion's uncle happens to be passing with a pair of MAGIC TRUNKS! If you write your name in these and wear them for three hours, you'll become irresistible to the opposite sex! Keiichi has the good sense to be suspicious of this, but anything's better than skinny-dipping.
The rest of the plot involves the girls trying to get Keiichi naked. Most of the show's cast participates in the battle, one way or another, including the evil ones (but played for laughs and no one regards them as anything but comedy characters). There are riot police. At one point we're told that about a dozen soldiers in scuba gear had been hiding unnoticed all morning at the bottom of the swimming pool. This seems unlikely. It's a nice, clean pool. They'd have been visible to everyone. Someone repels a stun grenade by bouncing it off his manly chest. We also have pretty much all male characters going nuts about the MAGIC TRUNKS, including men near retirement age who you'd think would know better.
No female characters get naked, but they all wear swimsuits and some of those are outrageous (i.e. Takano's). There's also a brief scene of Keiichi delivering a soliloquy about the physical charms of all the swimsuit-wearing club members, including the pre-pubescent ones.
The episode's well named and can sod off and die. If anyone caught you watching this, you'd hastily turn it off. (Rena's tiny nosebleed made me laugh, though.)
This is the interesting bit of Rei, but it starts badly. The gang are being silly, as usual, but Rika decides to ride her bicycle dangerously fast down a hill with blind corners and nearly kill Satoko. A truck comes around the corner. Splat. Good.
I normally like Rika, but that was too dumb to live. Unfortunately, she wakes up. What's interesting is that she's trapped in the past, in a timeline we've never seen before. Ep.2 is a big mystery, with Rika piecing together the clues to the year and to how this timeline's history is different. Theoretically this is intriguing... but unfortunately this is Bloody Stupid Rika and so it's hard to care.
It gets good in ep.3, though. That's the good episode. It has strong material, especially the Rika-Satoko relationship. (Rika sees this timeline's Satoko as a different person from her best friend and, uh, isn't in a mood to play nicely.) There's some sinister material with the evil technobabble and Rika's mother. We also learn that this world's Rika used to be pretty unpleasant. After that, ep.4 has important backstory for God (no, really) and some possibly overindulgent philosophising about multiverse theory.
There are at least two readings of this story arc. One is to believe the nice, comforting probable-lie that lets Rika off the hook. Frankly, at the time, I didn't even consider this as an option. Another is the dark option. A third is self-sacrificing suicide, which would actually fit the episode's themes and backstory.
Like "Embarrassment", it's playing with anime harem comedy tropes in a Higurashi context. Also, like "Embarrassment", I couldn't stomach its show-breaking stupidity.
A magic thing falls from the sky, with the power of making people fall in love! (Plus also, maybe, some psycho killings.) Rena swallows it. Ho ho ho, my sides. She falls in love with Tomitake, who turns into a skirt-blinded comedy twat even with Takano standing in front of him. After that, the episode gets even worse. Oh, and evil characters are again comedically evil without consequences or significance.
NOTE: this is an OVA series, so these are half-hour episodes, not "half an hour including advertising breaks". The latter usually have more like twenty minutes of story, not counting the opening and closing credits.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. You shouldn't watch it unless you've watched all of Seasons 1-2, because of spoilers. That's a challenging entry condition. You'll be a nervous wreck by the time you've finished Season 1. Anyone who has watched everything thus far, though, will have seen some strong, fascinating material that here is getting pissed under a bridge. That said, though, there's some decent stuff in "Dice Killing".