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Higurashi When They Cry: Massacre Arc, Vol. 1
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I'll warn you, if you're looking for something light, this won't be the read you're hoping for. While this is the same size height-wise as the previous volumes in the Higurashi series, it's easily just as long as the first volume of Umineko and comes in at about 500 pages. This and the second volume of the Massacre Arc are far longer than the previous volumes, so make sure to take that into consideration when you read them.

If you're familiar with the series, you'll know that this is the penultimate arc of the series and the one where everything really and truthfully starts to change and prepare us for the end of the main series. We're given hints in this volume as to who exactly is the person pulling the strings behind the scenes, with the identity of the killer given in volume two. This is the answer arc to the Curse Killing Chapter, and mercifully it's not as dark as CKC at times. We've still got one arc to go so we know that this probably won't end with roses and kittens, but this first volume gives us definite hope for a permanent happily ever after at some point.

What really helped set this volume apart for me was how honest Rika was during the entire volume. She's been re-living countless deaths for about 100+ years, which has jaded her and her companion Hanyu (the real Oyashiro) almost beyond the point of no return. Rika gets a new breath of fresh hope and it's really nice to see her honestly react to new situations and opportunities coming up. The artist really did an awesome job of showing us exactly how depressing it would be to die over and over again and to see your hope slowly die as you receive less and less time each time you reincarnate. What really sort of rubs salt into Rika's wounds is that she's perpetually stuck in the body of a pre-pubescent girl, meaning that odds are that Rika started the hundred years off with the outlook of a girl her age. It's amazing really, that Rika's lasted this long when you think about it. The reason I bring this up is that the artist does an excellent job of bringing all of this weariness across for the most part without resorting to showing buckets and buckets of gore. It makes it that much more interesting to see Rika really react to her surroundings for the first time, which makes me realize that we really haven't seen the true Rika until this volume.

This really is an excellent volume and I had to stop and pace myself before moving on to the next volume so I could really absorb everything. I would absolutely recommend this to fans of the series, although like previous volumes, if this is your first entry into the series then you won't want to start here. You'll be absolutely lost.

EDIT:

On a side note, I wanted to let you know that this volume is an omnibus of volumes 1 and 2 in the Massacre Arc. At 6 volumes long, this was the longest manga arc in the series thus far and I have to say that I liked Yen Press's decision to release the volumes together like this. It helps keep the tension going, something that I think the individual volumes would have potentially cut into. Maybe it was also to cut down on the expense of releasing each volume individually. Either way, it's less I have to wait for release-wise, which I like.

It also helps set the tone for the final manga arc, which originally comprised of 8 volumes and will be released in 4 chunky volumes. There is a slight worry about the spines deteriorating over time, but these are pretty solidly built. It's as of yet unknown if Yen Press will release any of the other side arcs such as there are 4 other arcs aside from those in the main series and the one side arc (Higurashi When They Cry: Demon Exposing Arc). All I can say is that if Yen Press will release them, I'm guaranteed to buy them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2013
This long and bloody series of friendship, faith, paranoia and broken ties seems to be close to ending, as the very nature of the series is revealed: Rika Furude, one of the girls in Keiichi's circle of friends, lives outside the flow of reality, or to be more precise, part of her does, allowing her to not only be a part of each and every "arc" that has taken place, but to view them from a spectator's perspective as well. She has replayed the same events many a time, more times than she cares to admit, and is able to recall such events without fail. Each time, the flow of events is similar, but subtly different, and they all share one thing in common, something she seeks to prevent: her own death in June 1983.

In every past arc, following the events in which one of Rika's friends is overcome with paranoia and strikes out in violence, killing someone near and dear to them, Rika meets her death without fail at the same time, every time. All she wants is to live past June 1983. What's wrong with that?

This time around she has only two weeks to discover who it is who is responsible for killing her, and to prevent it from happening. In addition, she must prevent the events of the past from repeating themselves as they always have, thus causing a massive impact on the flow of the future. As we all know, in the last arc, the Repentance Arc, Keiichi saved Rena from going down the path of insanity and bloodshed and prevented that tragedy, yet somehow did not prevent the death of Rika. This time through, Keiichi is given subtle hints from Rika, the puppet master that she is, to motivate him to change destiny for not only himself, but his friends as well.

During the events of this volume, Rika begins to become depressed, but more than just Keiichi show signs of remembering what occurred in previous worlds, including Rena and Shion, allowing them to further assist in keeping Rika committed to changing the future. Elements of the past begin to rear their ugly heads, but with the fiery anger brought on by such elements will push the heroes of this story to push the boundaries of what is right and what is wrong about society!

-- David Gromer
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on August 3, 2013
I picked up this book hoping to continue where the anime left off. I wish the anime continued in English for this part of the story, but the manga does a great job of covering the story. This book also goes into details that were left out of the anime, so that is another reason I got it. I wanted to see how the author made it as closely as I could. I am looking forward to continuing with the next volume as soon as I can.
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on July 1, 2015
Great manga series! Can't wait to get them all.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2012
As a long time Higurashi series fan, I've been waiting for this arc for a long time. Massacre Arc, Vol. 1 starts to shine light on information left in the dark. Not everything is reviled though and this arc is that journey to find out the truth once and for all.

This book is twice the size of all the other books (I checked myself). So, I feel that I got 2 times the reading material for about the same price. The artwork is amazing. They nailed the emotions perfectly and you can really feel it when you look at the artwork.

If you've been reading from the beginning and liked it, then I highly recommend getting this book. If you're new to this series, I suggest going back and reading the other 18 books first. You wont be disappointed.
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