|Good voice acting||Horrible villain, unnecessary sequel, poor character designs, ridiculous|
How does one review a sequel that is this disappointing? There is no good way to cut away emotions from something like Higurashi Gou and Sotsu. All the more so when my initial statement to people is simple. I cannot strongly enough recommend avoiding this show. It can’t be recommended for fans of the original Higurashi games/anime. Not recommended for fans that know nothing of the series. I’m sure there are people that can and have enjoyed this show. But I just simply cannot recommend anyone watch this thing. Watch the original Higurashi anime and Kai. Even check out the Umineko anime. Just pass on this one. And so, I will try to go into details on this one while keeping spoilers off the table as much as possible.
The story is awful and the biggest failure of the series as a whole. First of all, this is a sequel. The studio Passione and the original creator Ryukishi07 thought they were being very cute by advertising it as a remake. Even having the first episode end with the opening song of the original series. But it is absolutely a sequel. It does try to fill in the gaps so people can kind of understand events of the original series. There is just a complete lack of connection and emotion since it is passed on like second hand information. You can’t really capture the difficulty and struggle of the original cast in that show without actually watching the original series itself.
Simply put, Higurashi takes place in the small village of Hinamizawa in the year 1983. More or less since they do jump around a bit there. Summarizing beyond that is a bit tricky since there is so much that can be spoiled. The story starts off following the character of Keiichi as things start to get strange, frightening, and eventually very messy. There are several arcs between the two seasons that focus on different characters and reveal what is going on. A level of mystery does exist within the show.
What also exists in the show unfortunately is one of the worst flashback arcs in history. The vast majority of the Sotsu part of the show are flashbacks. Now the flashbacks do try to convey some new information. Unfortunately, most of it doesn’t matter. Gou and Sotsu revealed the whole plan of their villain at the end of Gou. We know exactly why that character is doing what they are doing (their motivations are stupid) and we know more or less what they did. So Sotsu spends episode after episode showing things that people could have just inferred without seeing it. It wasn’t like they started to show what really happened in the first part of the show and then gave the villain’s motivations. They did the reverse and made it all a painful battle to get through.
Another really painful element of the show is the inconsistency. It truly turns the characters in it into cartoons at times. We’re supposed to treat the cast mostly as normal humans. And yet they also manage to have more blood inside of them than a swimming pool. A character can get stabbed hundreds of times in the chest and survive. They can smash their face into a door so hard that the door breaks and yet their skull hasn’t. They’ll pass out and be a bloody mess, but they’ll amazing still have a functional skull by the end of that.
That exaggeration is one thing. But there are actual inconsistencies between arcs that are supposed to cover the same exact scene. This isn’t the case of an unreliable narrator. Things just don’t line up the way they should. Which is a shame since if you are trying to cover a mystery…people need well-crafted scenarios in order to speculate.
There is a great cast of characters within this show. But they suffer immensely from bad writing and the flashbacks locking them into directions that they can’t really grow from. Furude Rika, Maebara Keiichi, Sonozaki Mion and Shion, Houjou Satoko, and Ryuuguu Rena do their absolute best with their roles in the story. These are all characters that have been through a lot both in these seasons and the original franchise. But going into details on any of them would be too spoiler heavy. There is a lot to learn from them in their original series. But this series has the worst versions of them overall. Great characters in a better story. But they can’t save this one.
It might as well be said here. The worst thing about these sequels is that they put characters that have been through so much into even worse stuff. There are some shows that don’t need sequels and some shows that simply shouldn’t have any. The kind of franchise that Higurashi is works in drama, mystery, horror, etc and that just means putting characters through hell more than they should if you try to force another adventure. This isn’t like Fairy Tail where if the main cast goes on another adventure then it’s all fun. Adventures for this cast involve terrible things happening to them.
I’m just going to talk about the main villain here. This character will be unnamed since that would be a rather serious spoiler. I’m still not recommending anyone watch this show. But it’s not fair to spoil things. This villain’s motivations are incredibly stupid. I was truly left in awe of how bad a job the show did in giving that character reasons to do what they were doing. They had so many options to go a different path, accept change, learn a lesson, or at least gain a good reason for doing something wrong.
But instead, it was just stupid. And the worst thing is that the show doesn’t actually acknowledge that. The character doesn’t even get a satisfying conclusion to their arc. It’s just a weak ‘feel good’ ending that you fear while watching the show and end up groaning when it happens. This villain was both incredibly evil and incredibly dumb. They went to absolutely horrific depths and didn’t even have a good reason to do it. It is the worst kind of villain. This character defines what is wrong with Gou and Sotsu.
This is going to be the most subjective thing in the review for me. But I hated the art style of this show. My apologies to Passione, but I didn’t care for their character designs. I don’t know how much Ryukishi07 played a role in that. But the characters just never worked for me in that sense. Higurashi Kai came out in 2007 and everything looks way better than Gou and Sotsu. The village looked better, the ‘action’ was better, and the characters just looked better. Deen did a better job than Passione with Higurashi. That’s even with the points docked to Deen for the first season of Higurashi which had some of the most…questionable facial expressions I’d seen in some time. It at least worked with the overall tone of that season and what was going on.
The music was fine. There wasn’t a track that stuck with me at all in Gou and Sotsu. The OP/ED weren’t great, but they weren’t the worst ever made. My biggest issue with the OP/ED combination was the narratives they tried to show off. Trying way too hard to make the villain the protagonist. That can certainly work, but only with a well written villain. Trying to play up a terrible villain as the main character of a show is just not a great way to start every episode.
Voice acting was the only bright spot. The Higurashi cast was well picked in the past and have remained stars in the present. They weren’t dragging this thing down. Any over the top elements were directed to them. Yukari Tamura as Rika is always a win since she does such a good job.
Great shows have some flaws to them. Terrible shows have some saving graces to them. Unfortunately Gou and Sotsu are the latter. The voice acting is great, the characters are good thanks to (mostly) still being the same people from a better show, and the visuals were decent. However, the story just absolutely kills this show. It is even worse because it was originally advertised as a remake. There are people who will have this as their understanding of what Higurashi is. And it even gives enough information about the original that a lot of the experience is lost of going back to check that show out. It is still absolutely worth seeing since it is a great show. But that’s a story for another day.
This is a show that I would absolutely wave people away from. There’s minimal damage to giving it the “three-episode rule”, but I don’t think it is even worth that. I don’t know if this was truly just a cash grab to try and get the franchise some attention again or if the staff just wanted to be really meta and defy expectations. Unfortunately, the risk in trying to trick the audience from a logical story direction is that it is really easy to just do something dumb instead. This is easily the most disappointing show I’ve ever seen and one of the worst sequels I’ve seen. On a technical level there are probably worse sequels out there. But in terms of damage done to a great franchise it is right up there with the worst. Gou and Sotsu get an F as far as I’m concerned.
Posted by FlareKnight
Posted on October 1, 2021 at 11:00 am
Tags: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou and Sotsu Review, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou Review, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou Screenshots, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Review, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Sotsu, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Sotsu Review, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Sotsu Screenshots
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