The Japanese murder mystery Higurashi When They Cry first launched in Japan during the early 2000s and has since grown in popularity, warranting not only an anime series based on the visual novel series, but also plenty more accompanying content. If you’re an anime fan, the best way to experience this visual novel’s unique story is by checking out the many series available to stream within the franchise.
The murder mystery series has a ton of content to keep you entertained for hours, but if you’re new to it, then you may be wondering where to start. Fortunately, binging Higurashi is an easy task, and for those who want to make sure they’re doing it correctly, here’s everything you need to know.
Higurashi watch order
The best way to binge Higurashi is by checking it out in its release order. This is because the series was released in chronological order, meaning that there is no need to skip around within its various seasons.
When They Cry (2006)
Built from the story of the visual novel series, Higurashi When They Cry launched its first anime entry in 2006. The series has 26 episodes in total that give fans a great entry point into the world of the series and introduce its key characters. The show follows a group of friends in a village called Hinamizawa. Things aren’t so simple in this place, with strange occurrences and mysterious deaths spanning back four years.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Nekogoroshi-hen (2007)
Now that you’re familiar with the cast, this special will bridge the gap between seasons one and two. In this special, known as the “Cat Killing Chapter,” the group of Keiichi and his friends visit an abandoned village and stumble across a haunted quarry. You don’t need to watch this OVA to follow the events of the main series, but if you’re looking to take in as much Higurashi content as possible, then it’s worth adding in.
When They Cry: Kai (2007)
The Higurashi mayhem continues in Kai as the group of friends remains in the never-ending summer of 1983. There are 24 episodes in When They Cry: Kai, which acts as the second series of the anime. If you loved the original Higurashi series, then this is more of the same, with the group continuing the trend of conflict that often results in gruesome deaths.
When They Cry: Rei (2009)
Taking place right after Kai, When They Cry: Rei, Rika has found her ideal world where the cycle of killing is over; however, things aren’t so simple. To get back to her home, Rika needs to seek out and destroy the “key.” Not only does this follow on from the events of Kai, but it also sets up things that will take place in Koro ni Kira, meaning you will need to check it out before you continue on.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira (2011)
This is a four-part season that includes parallel worlds with adventures outside of the main When They Cry story. This OVA series is quite short, but it’s a great breather after the conclusion of the previous seasons of the series. Released to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the franchise, this OVA has a ton of fan service. Again, you don’t have to include this in your watch if you’re only sticking to the key releases, but if you want to see it all, then add this to your list.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak (2013)
This is another OVA set in the series timeline when Himanizawa is quarantined due to a mysterious virus and other teenagers in the village are left scared and confused. While some look for a way to stop the affliction, others are simply looking for a way to escape the village.
Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou (2020)
In this recent addition to the franchise, you’ll meet Rika and her friends once again as they live seemingly ordinary lives in the mountain village of Hinamizawa. As we know, things aren’t as they seem and plenty of the townspeople have dark secrets to hide. This was the first Higurashi release to boast more modern animation along with the classic story that fans have grown to love. If you’re a new viewer who isn’t worried about chronological order but is after a good place to start, then this isn’t a bad option.
Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu (2021)
When They Cry: Sotsu is the final entry in the Higurashi series and picks up right after GOU. As the children continue to grow up, we get a further look into their lives as they are forced to make decisions that will direct their futures. If you’re looking for more Higurashi content to check out, then make sure you look into the novels and manga that inspired this popular anime series, both of which can be found in various places online including Hulu.