Keiichi Maebara just moved from Tokyo with his family to the small town of Hinamizawa in the summer 1983. As the town is so small, school children of all ages are lumped into one class. There he becomes fast friends with four girls where he spends his days after school idly playing games. However, as the town’s annual festival approaches, he learns about a series of murders, disappearances, and other mysteries that surround it. When he confronts his friends, he finds them mysteriously tight-lipped.
With its juxtaposition of cute moe and horrific violence combined with an increasingly intriguing mystery, Higurashi has a way of drawing you in and never letting go. Can these anime recommendations capture the same glory? I think so.
- Anime Series Like High School of the Dead
- Anime Series Like From the New World
- Anime Series Like Re:Zero
For Fans of Creepy Women
The fifteen-year-old Megumi Shimizu dreamed of leaving her small country town behind for the big city, but those dreams died when she did. It was her murder that kicked off a summer of blood and terror in this small town where a city boy and a country doctor try to stop the epidemic of death happening around them.
Both Shiki and Higurashi are set in small villages that maintain a rather light-hearted atmosphere until the majority of the plot is kicked off by a murder that turns into some increasingly more disturbing deathes. However, while Higurashi is often more disturbing than Shiki, it also has more slapstick comedic moments too.
Ever since 1972, class 3-3 in Yomiyama North middle School has had a strange tradition of pretending that one of their students did not exist. When Kouichi Sakakubara transfers into the class, he finds himself drawn to a girl that no one seems to notice. Not paying heed to the warnings of his classmates, all hell is about to break loose.
Like Higurashi, Another takes place in another small village where the mystery starts off slow almost to the point of “why the hell am I watching this?” but by of the first murder it grabs hold and doesn’t let go. However, Higurashi has more humor and less of the persistent Gothic theme that Another has.
It is said that those with a powerful need for vengeance gain access to a mysterious website at midnight. By typing in the name of those who have wronged them, they will be taken straight to hell. This is the story of Ai Enma, the Hell Girl that carries out such requests.
Honestly, both Higurashi and Hell Girl are anime series that shouldn’t have been good, but are due to the superb scripting, pacing, and development. They both deal with more spiritual and mystical horror, but Higurashi has a fair bit of shock violence while Hell Girl is more dignified.
For Fans of Romance with a Gory Twist
It had to have been fate. Makoto Itou caught the eye of Kotonoha Katsura on the train and it was love at first sight. However, their shared bashfulness prevents one from approaching the other. Only with the push of his friend Sekai does he start going out with Kotonoha. Unfortunately, once a person has a taste of affection, it can be hard to quench it.
Did you like the vague romance subplots in Higurashi: When They Cry and would like to see more romance in a horror setting? School Days is the perfect series for you. For the most part, it is less terror and more school-set slice of life. That is, right up until they end.
Lonely high school student Yukiteru Amano spends his days writing the events that happen around him in his diary rather than participating in them. Considering himself an observer, he only has two friends, both imaginary gods. However, when the god Deus Ex Machina gives him a diary that tells the future, he proves more than imaginary by thrusting him into a survival game with his godhood as the prize.
Did you like Higurashi because those cute little girls occasionally took a step off the deep end and went murderously insane? Well, that pretty much describes the female lead in Future Diary.
High school student Takumi Nishijou one day hears about the New Gen murders happening around Shibuya. Thinking it has nothing to do with him, he goes about his business, or tries to, anyway. Strange events begin to occur around him and slowly he struggles to tell what is real and what is an illusion.
Chaos;Head is essentially the first arc of Higursashi where you watch the main character get stalked by a small harem of cute, creepy girls that may or may not want to hurt him and eventually spiral into violent paranoia.
For Fans of Happy to Horrible
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Middle school students Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki live regular lives until one day they are approached by a strange creature that will grant them one wish if they become magical girls to protect the world from witches. While it sounds like a good deal, a mysterious new transfer student pleads with Madoka not to make the deal.
Like Higurashi, Madoka Magica starts off super cheerful, but eventually descends into madness, mass hysteria, and murder. In both series, it is that innate moe cuteness in the series that makes the resulting clusterfuck so fun to watch.
The Lost Village
A bus full of eccentric individuals that met on the internet all decide to leave society behind in search of a mysterious village that cannot be found by any map. Excited for their new life, these people soon find that this village is full of more mysteries than they can comprehend.
Both take place in a small village that is virtually cut off from the rest of the world. In The Lost Village, their story starts off pretty happy, and then like in Higurashi it descends into a psychological experience that threatens to be scary, but never quite gets there.
Okamikakushi: Masque of the Wolf
Hiroshi Kuzumi recently moved to the small village of Jogamachi, nestled in the mountain away from big cities. This village has kept alive its old traditions, but he thinks little of it. As he enters school, he finds that several of his classmates have affection for him, save for the aloof class president that warns him to stay away from the old part of town.
As Okamikakushi and Higurashi have the same creator, it is almost forgivable that they have essentially the same synopsis. However, the stories end up going in different directions. Okamikakushi doesn’t get quite as violent, but rather sticks to a mystical mystery and thriller.
Have your own recommendations for anime series like Higurashi: When They Cry? Tell us about it in the comments section below.