When They Cry - Rei (2009) (NTSC)

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Released 18-Nov-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime More…-Clean Opening Animation
More…-Clean Closing Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 154:44 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Chiaki Kon
Studio
Distributor
Universal Sony Starring Souichiro Hoshi
Mai Nakahara
Yui Horie
Satsuki Yukino
Mika Kanai
Yukari Tamura
Miki Itou
Chafurin
Toru Ohkawa
Toshihiko Seki
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Kenji Kawai


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The two seasons of When They Cry (Higurashi no Naku Koroni), about the secrets and deaths in the remote village of Hinamizawa, are fabulous and unsettling anime, a horror story / murder mystery / ghost tale that is tense, chilling, eerie and scary involving murder, abuse and torture, revenge, possession and obsession. Part of the horror of the series was the juxtaposition of sweet young girls who suddenly turn murderous and menacing; the image of a cute young girl with blood dripping from her meat clever is not one easily forgotten. The storytelling was also complex; events repeat from different perspectives, turn back upon themselves, change and undermine what you thought happened. It was Rashomon type storytelling cranked up to 11.

     When They Cry - Rei is a collection of three unrelated OAVs that do not have a lot in common with the main storyline of the series, although you need to know the background and characters to make any sense of the stories.

     The first story Public Embarrassment is pure farce. Keiichi (voiced by Souichiro Hoshi) is on his way to the pool to meet his classmates and fellow members of the school games club when he realises that he has left his swimming costume behind. Mion’s uncle appears and offers Keiichi a special “playboy swimsuit”. If Keiichi writes his name on the swimsuit and wears it for three hours he will become irresistible to girls.

     At the pool Keiichi meets up with Rena (Mai Nakahara), Mion and Shion (both Satsuki Yukino), Rika (Yukari Tamura) and Satoko (Mika Kanai) and puts on the swimsuit. However, Mion’s uncle realises he has made a mistake and calls Mion; the person wearing the costume for three hours will fall in love with the person whose name is written on the costume, thus Keiichi will fall in love with himself and ignore girls, something that a couple of his classmates are not happy with. So the girls have three hours to take the costume off Keiichi! Things quickly escalate as other characters in the When They Cry universe, including Takano, Yoshiro, Chie, Dr. Irie, Hanyu, Tomitake, Oishi, special operations officers and the riot squad, get involved both to help the girls get the costume or to help Keiichi keep it on.

     The second, more substantial story, is the three part Die Killing. After the events of the second series which resolved the mystery of Hinamizawa Syndrome, the school friends have put their cares behind them and are being normal teenagers again. But when Rika is killed in an accident with a truck she awakes in 1983 in a very different Hinamizawa, an ideal Hinamizawa where everyone is content. The dam is being built because the residents have come to an agreement with the government and the village is gradually emptying as shops close and people move away before the village is inundated by the water. There is no curse of Oyashiro or killings during the Cotton Drifting Festival, Rena’s parents did not divorce, the Hinamizawa Syndrome does not exist, Rika’s parents are still alive and her mother (Sayaka Ohara) is the reincarnation of Oyashiro, not Rika, Satoko’s brother Satoshi (Yu Kobayashi) is still in the village while Keiichi, Dr. Irie and Takano are not. Instead, the medical clinic is run by Dr. Yamamoto (Hozumi Goda). Rika has a choice; she can stay in this alternative Hinamizawa with her parents where everyone is content and without sin, or search for the key that will take her back to the other Hinamizawa. But when Rika discovers that the only way to return to her pervious world is to kill her mother, she faces a terrible dilemma.

     The final OAV Daybreak is a much less serious story. Two charms, the “Beads of Fuwarazu”, a treasure of the shrine, have been set loose. Anyone with the red bead will fall head over heels with the person who has the white bead. Rena accidentally swallows the red bead and her friends frantically search for the white bead before Rena does something she will regret. But they are too late: first Rena throws herself at the photographer Tomitake (Toru Ohkawa) and then, when the bead changes hands, at the nurse Takano (Miki Itou). When Takano loses the bead, it comes into the possession of Detective Oishi (Chafurin), who forces Keiichi into a tense game of mahjong to get it back. Then when Keiichi swallows the white bead, Rika and the others must race both Keiichi and Rena to the shrine to dissolve the spell.

     When They Cry - Rei is a mixed bag. Die Killing comes closest to the dark tone of the initial series and does raise questions about fate, destiny, friendships and making choices for yourself. However, ultimately and sadly, it shies away from the dilemmas it raises for a resolution which is rather too trite for such a series. The other two stories are lightweight although amusing in places, but none of the OAVs get anywhere near the brutality, terror, horror, mystery and convoluted storytelling that made When They Cry so unnerving, different and compelling.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     When They Cry - Rei is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The scenes of rural village life have soft pastel colours, the greens of the forest, blue of the sky and water, yellow and reds of the spectacular sunsets all look great. Line detail is strong, blacks are solid and shadow detail very good.

     I did not notice any marks or artefacts although the added English closing credits had a slight shimmer.

     American English subtitles are mostly in a clear yellow font, with some in white. The subtitles are burnt in so cannot be removed for Japanese speakers. They were error free.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps is the only audio choice.

     The audio is surround encoded and the surrounds and rears featured music and some effects. Dialogue was clear.

     The score by series composer Kenji Kawai remains interesting and very diverse.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is fairly approximate.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Clean Opening Animation (1:35)

     The opening song without the credits.

Clean Closing Animation (1:34)

     The closing song without the credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our local DVD release of When They Cry - Rei is NTSC and seems the same as the US version.

Summary

     When They Cry was a fabulous series, a horror story / murder mystery / ghost tale that was tense, chilling, eerie and unsettling. When They Cry - Rei is very different in tone. I was underwhelmed, but fans may want to check it out. If you have not seen the original anime, these OAVs are not the place to start.

     The video and the audio are fine. The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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