Higurashi (or When They Cry) is a Japanese murder mystery dojin soft sound novel series that was produced by 07th Expansion. In addition to this novel series, it has also been adapted as a game for PC, Playstation 2, Nintendo DS, iOS, and Android. The anime series was directed by Chaiki Kon and produced by Studio Deen. There is also a live-action adaptation called Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Shrill Cries of Summer).
One summer in 1983, a transfer student named Maebara Keiichi moves into a little rural village called Hinamizawa. The small village is so small that they only have one schoolhouse where all of the students in the town attend classes. While he’s there, he becomes close friends with his classmates: Rena, Mion, Rika, and Satoko. They form an afterschool club that plays all sorts of games ranging from cards and board games to water gun fights. As soon as Keiichi gets comfortable, the real games start.
The first season is made up of various story arcs that last between four and five episodes. In each successive arc bits of information are picked up from previous episodes, however the ending comes out differently. As the season moves on, Keiichi learns about everyone’s complicated history and finds that this seemingly peaceful town isn’t all that peaceful after all.
There are seven main characters that appear in almost every story arc (with the exception of the “Time Killing Chapter”).
The sequel is called Higurashi no Naku Koroni Kai. There is also a spin-off OAV (Higurashi no Naku Koroni Gaiden Nekogoroshi-hen), a side story (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira), and an OAV sequel (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei).
Ryugu Rena plays both a protagonist and villain in the series (as do most of the other characters). She lives with her father and loves to go treasure hunting in the town junkyard.
Hojo Satoko is the younger sister of Satoshi and is the same age as Rika. She is dedicated herself to proving that she is independent and can take care of herself – after her brother “transfers” out of Hinamizawa.
Sonozaki Mion is the heir of the Sonozaki house. Between her and her sister, she is the most well-known of the two and is a bit more tomboyish – though she does have a sweet side. She falls for both Satoshi and Keiichi.
Sonozaki Shion is Mion’s identical twin sister. She is mischievous and hard-headed. After being shunned by her family, she grew to be independent.
Furude Rika is the daughter of the Shinto priest of Hinamizawa and the current shrine maiden. She is one of the younger characters in the series and lives with Satoko as both of their parents and guardians have since passed.