Game based manga are rarely ever good. For whatever reason, series adapted from games usually suffer from poor artwork, writing, or both. Most of the time, this can be attributed to the title being treated as an afterthought and a means to score a buck on a proven franchise. However, there have been instances that have shown when enough care is put into the quality of the product; its popularity will reach beyond that of its normal fanbase. Case in point: Higurashi: When they Cry.
Blending mystery and the supernatural, Higurashi: When they Cry received widespread acclaim and became Japan’s top selling visual novels. The series was adapted into other forms of media such as anime and of course, manga. The manga takes a unique approach in that, every arc features a different artist, much in the way American comics handle many of their titles. As such, the arcs themselves are self contained, though that doesn’t mean they are easily accessible to new fans by any means. The characters from different arcs often cross over and can leave audiences confused.
This volume focuses on a young girl named Shion, as she seeks to escape the academy her family has shipped her off to. Considering her twin was chosen as the rightful heir to the family, Shion is treated as more of a burden and was sent away to keep her out of everyone’s hair. Still, Shion is unwilling to let things stand as they are and heads back to her home town and what results is a romantic triangle as she falls in love with a man who in turn loves her twin sister, Mion.
The supernatural elements fall into place at around the halfway point with talks of a curse and demons thrown into the mix. Still, with this being the first installment in the story, this is all kept to a minimum, with the focus being on the twins.
Higurashi: When they Cry is an interesting series and this installment did feel like more of a beginning than the continuation of a thread in a story. While it would probably be best to pick up the previous volumes, the story here is interesting enough that it stands on its own merits.