Eerie, scary, dark, and grim; When They Cry Volume 2 is all that
and more. This disc wraps up the second story line in a particularly
shocking way and starts on the next tale that may end up being even more
disturbing. One of the better anime shows to be released in 2007;
the second volume has all of the intensity of the first, if not more.
This is a show that has been slipping under a lot of people's radar, and
that's too bad because it's awfully good.
Keiichi Maebara is a teenager who has just moved to the small rural
village of Hinamizawa, and is having just a bit of trouble fitting in.
The school is very small and everyone who attends has known their classmates
for years. He soon makes friends with Rena, who is Keiichi's age
and might have a small crush on him, Mion the head of the school game club
and a year older than Keiichi, and Satoko and Rika, a pair of younger girls
who are too cute for words.
Rena's a bit strange, but Keiichi hangs around with her mainly since
she's the only kid his age. She likes to go to the local dump and
look for things, and on one such trip the new student accompanies her.
While he's there he meets a photographer from Tokyo, Tomitake, who comes
to the village every once in a while to photograph the local birds, and
his lady friend Takano. Talking to this man Keiichi learns of the
city's deep dark secret: Five years ago a damn was going to be built
that would have flooded the city. One night a man working for the
company that was going to put up the damn was murdered and dismembered,
and parts of him were never found. Every year since then during the
Cotton Drifting festival, the anniversary of his murder, another person
turns up dead. The locals say it's the work of a demon named Oyashiro,
but who believes in demons in this day and age?
This anime is a little unique. It is made up of four part stories,
with each story taking place at the same time and with the same characters,
but they are totally different and contradict each other. The backgrounds
are the same but each different story is like a look at an alternate reality.
The disc starts off with the final three episodes of the "Cotton Drifting"
story line. It's the day of the Cotton Drifting Festival, and Keiichi
goes off into the forest with Shion, Mion's twin sister. They walk
a while and come to the temple of Oyashiro just in time to see Tomitake
and Takano breaking in. The pair wants to see what's inside; only
members of the family in charge of the temple have ever been inside, and
at Shion's pressuring, Keiichi goes in too. Inside they find something
unexpected: torture implements. The word 'cotton' is uses the
same character as the word 'intestines'. It turns out that in ancient
times the temple was used for a particular type of torture: The victim
was tied down and his or her intestines were slowly removed from their
body. If done properly, the victim would stay alive and conscious
The next day, Tomitake and Takano turn up dead and the village chief
is missing. When Keiichi and Mino stop off at Rika and Satoko's house,
they find it empty with dinner hot and uneaten. With three people
missing, Keiichi starts to get worried, and things get worse when he hears
that Shion is missing too. He starts getting really worried since
he's the only one who trespassed on the temple grounds and is still alive.
When Shion calls him however, he gets ever more scared. When he questions
her about the events that happened, it turns out that she's talked to people
after they disappeared. It could be that the ancient tortures haven't
stopped, maybe the villagers have kept the traditions going on since ancient
The disc also has the first two chapters of the third story, "Curse
Killing." This story revolves around young Satoko. When Keiichi
asks about Satoko's brother, Satoshi, transferring away he finds that the
story he's been told isn't really true. The older boy seems to have
run away, though some people think that he was cursed and killed by Oyashiro.
Keiichi pretty much scoffs at that, but when he sees the young girl's home
life he's appalled. Satoko lives with her uncle who treats her like
a slave, and there are bruises all over her body. When Child Protective
Services come to check it out though, she denies that she's being abused.
Knowing that his friend is in trouble nearly drives Keiichi mad, but its
even worse that there's nothing he can do about it.
This was another great volume. I love the way the stories have
the same set-up and characters but spin off in different and often unexpected
ways. The Cotton Drifting story was even better that the first one,
with some great eerie moments and a conclusion that was particularly disquieting.
The third story is starting off well too. If you like shows like
Elven Lied, you'll love this one.
This disc includes an ample five episodes. It comes in a clear
keepcase with reversible cover. There is an insert that lists the
episodes and opens up to a mini-poster of Rena.
This disc comes with the original Japanese soundtrack as well as an
English dub, both in stereo. I alternated between languages while
watching the show and enjoyed both tracks a lot. The young girl's
voices in the English dub are high pitched and squeaky, which is annoying,
but when the girls change to scary mode it's very effective. The
voice changes aren't so different to be silly, but they are very eerie.
The sound quality is very good, with the dialog coming through loud and
clear and the effects coming in at the right levels. There isn't
any distortion or other common audio defects. Subtitles are available
in English and for signs only.
The 1.78:1 picture is anamorphically enhanced and looks great.
The image is sharp, the colors are solid and strong, and the level of detail
is fine. There is a small amount of aliasing in the background, but
this is pretty minor and doesn't interfere with enjoyment of the show.
The only extras are three previews.
For those who like Japanese horror and psychological dramas, When They
Cry is a great show to try out. A show that's not afraid to be startling
and a bit gruesome, these four-part stories are work very well. One
of the best anime discs I've seen so far in 2007, this series is Highly