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Higurashi Season 2 release date in July 2021: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou (Higurashi : When They Cry Gou) Season 2 gets SOTSU sequel [Trailer]

Higurashi Gou Season 2
Will Higurashi: When They Cry Season 2 be similar to an Umineko remake? Pic credit: Studio Passione

The Higurashi Season 2 release date has been officially confirmed for July 1, 2021, the Summer 2021 anime season.

FUNimation Now will be streaming the sequel’s episodes as a SimulCast. The first two episodes will be released back-to-back.

The official title for the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou Season 2 (Higurashi: When They Cry Gou Season 2) sequel is Higurashi: When They Cry SOTSU. When you combine the two titles together into sotsugyou (卒業), it literally translates as “graduation” or “completion”.

The Higurashi Season 2 anime is taking the story of the long-running visual novel series in a new direction. In addition to the new story, is it possible that series creator Ryukishi07 is intending an Umineko remake/reboot, as well?

Answering that question requires a lengthy explanation. The first season was a two-cour anime season, but it turned out it wasn’t the complete story.

Higurash Season 2
This key visual for Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu released in May 2021. Pic credit: Studio Passione

What’s a “cour,” you might ask? For those unfamiliar with the lingo, a “cour” is a three-month TV broadcasting block based on the physical seasons usually composed of 10 to 13 episodes.

The first season was 24 episodes in total, but the number of cours or episodes for Higurashi SOTSU will be less. SOTSU will have one cour with 15 episodes in total.

The 2020 Higurashi: When They Cry NEW anime was produced by Japanese animation studio Passione, know for the Citrus anime, Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, and High School DxD Hero (see our exclusive interview with the producer, where he discusses High School DxD Season 5).

The Higurashi 2020 anime project was helmed by director Keiichirou Kawaguchi, who also directed Dropout Idol Fruit Tart, Frame Arms Girl, Hunter x Hunter Movie 2, Mayo Chiki!, Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation, and Shadowverse.

Writer Naoki Hayashi (A3!, Black Fox, Citrus) created the series composition, with Ryukishi07 being credited as the original creator. Artist Akio Watanabe (Grisaia series, key animation on Higurashi 2006) was the character designer.

Composer Kenji Kawai (Higurashi 2006, Higurashi Kai 2007, Fate/stay night, Mob Psycho 100, World Trigger Season 2) created the music.

The Higurashi no Naku Koro ni SOTSU OP (opening) “Analogy” by returning singer Ayane was previewed in a trailer that was released in May 2021.

The ED (ending) theme song music has not yet been announced.

For the first season, the first cour’s OP was “I Believe What You Said,” performed by Asaka. The first cour’s ED for Episode 1 was “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” by Eiko Shimamiya, but after Episode 2, the ED switched to “Kamisama no Syndrome” by Ayane.

The first season was streaming on FUNimation and Hulu. FUNimation’s Higurashi English dub was a SimulDub release.

The finale, Higurashi: When They Cry NEW Episode 24, released in March 2021.

  • Updated June 15, 2021: Added total number of episodes for SOTSU.
  • Updated May 20, 2021: Added Higurashi SOTSU trailer, new key visual, and OP info.
  • Updated April 5, 2021: Added longer Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU trailer.
  • Updated March 18, 2021: Higurashi Season 2 confirmed!

This article provides everything known about Higurashi Season 2 (Higurashi: When They Cry NEW Season 2/Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou Season 2/Higurashi Gou Season 2/Higurashi: When They Cry SOTSU) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.

The history of the Higurashi anime series

Newcomers to the Higurashi anime have probably heard that the TV show is based on a visual novel video game series.

Written by Ryukishi07 and developed by 07th Expansion, the story has been adapted into light novels (4 volumes), novels (17 volumes), manga (38 volumes), and live-action movies and TV shows.

There is also a Higurashi: When They Cry Gou manga adaptation that began serializing in October 2020.

Higurashi’s story is divided up into question story arcs and answer story arcs. Originally, each arc was released as a separate game.

The question arcs pose a mystery from a certain perspective and ask that audiences form an opinion about the presented mystery. Often, the audience can’t trust what they are seeing, and it’s difficult to discern who the true villain is behind the scenes.

The answer arcs offer the solutions to the questions by switching the perspective or retelling the same time loop with a different twist. Here are the question arcs and their corresponding answers.

  • Demoned Away (Onikakushi-hen) -> Atonement (Tsumihoroboshi-hen)
  • Cotton Drifting (Watanagashi-hen) -> Eye Opening (Meakashi-hen)
  • Curse Killing (Tatarigoroshi-hen) -> Massacre (Minagoroshi-hen)
  • Time Killing (Himatsubushi-hen)

The final story arc, Festival Accompanying (Matsuribayashi-hen), is different from the others since all the puzzle pieces have been revealed. It’s considered a good ending to the story since the characters join forces to stop the true villain and save the village of Hinamizawa.

The first four-game arcs were adapted into a 26-episode anime by Studio DEEN back in 2006. The next year they released the sequel, Higurashi: When They Cry Kai, which adapted the four answer arcs with 24 episodes.

(The original Higurashi: When They Cry anime has disappeared from many streaming platforms like Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Hulu, but both seasons can still be watched on HIDIVE.)

The 2009 Higurashi: When They Cry Rei OVA was a short series of 5 episodes that told a different story. Rika finds herself living in a sinless world where her friends don’t remember their prior lives, and Rika can’t return to her own timeline. Rika eventually learns of a way to return to her own world, but it comes at a steep price.

Studio DEEN also produced the four episodes of the 2011 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira, which largely focused on comedic scenarios like love rectangles and the characters becoming magical girls in a parallel world.

The 2013 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak was a more serious storyline that focused on an unknown virus causing a quarantine in the village. Keiichi and his friends must escape… but who will be left behind?

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou
After the big reveal in Episode 2, the true title of the 2020 anime, Higurashi: When They Cry Gou, was made public. The Japanese kanji GOU has multiple meanings, but it can mean karma, or the fate resulting from one’s actions in past lives. FUNimation also released this key visual, which reveals both versions of Rika. Pic credit: FUNimation

Why Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou (Higurashi: When They Cry Gou) is both a sequel and a reboot/remake at the same time

The Higurashi Season 2 anime could reboot/remake the Higurashi Kai anime by subverting fans’ expectations even further than the first season. But newcomers to the series probably needs an explanation for what that means.

The first thing to know is that the anime creators pulled a fast one on long-time fans. Ahead of the premiere, the new TV series was advertised as a 2020 Higurashi reboot or remake with the title Higurashi: When They Cry NEW. Still, by Episode 2, it quickly became apparent it was something more.

The opening scene showed an older Rika Furude surrounded by time fragments while talking to the spirit Hanyu. Having survived the Hinamizawa mystery of June 1983, this high school age Rika is being sent back into the past for an unknown reason to replay the horror over and over.

Originally, this big revelation about Rika essentially being the true main protagonist was reserved for the answer arcs in Higurashi Kei. While Higurashi Gou Episode 2 doesn’t provide all of the answers yet to new viewers, it’s pretty obvious that when Rika dies that she retains her memories.

The original creator and the director make it clear that this new anime is indeed a remake, but it also functions as a sequel in a way that only the Higurashi universe could pull off. The episodes mostly follow the original first season’s plot but then deviate dramatically by subverting everyone’s expectations.

The creators hinted early on that the turning point would differ this time around since Rika is already in the spotlight. Thus, while Rika is obviously trying to change the outcomes by taking different actions, she’s also content to sit back and watch events unfold so she can gather clues from each loop.

For anime fans who have already watched the original series by Studio DEEN, it’s pretty obvious that events are not playing out exactly as Rika expects, and thus the audience by extension.

For example, the original Episode 4 had a paranoid Keiichi slamming the door on Rena’s fingers, and the tragic events ended with Keiichi killing both Rena and Mion. In this version, Rika comforted Keiichi, which led to him opening the door for Rena to bring dinner.

It also became apparent that Keiichi remembered fragments. That’s a huge change to the formula that fans weren’t expecting.

All these changes keep long-time fans glued to the screen looking for the new details. Simultaneously, this sequel still functions as a remake since it’s designed so that new viewers can still enjoy the experience without knowing the full details from the original anime.

Therefore, it could be argued that the 2020 Higurashi reboot is already Higurashi Season 3 in the overall series. So, what does that mean for the possibility of Higurashi Gou Season 2?

Higurashi SOTSU release date in July 2021

As of the last update, Studio Passione, Kadokawa, or any company related to the anime production has not officially confirmed the exact Higurashi 2 release date. However, the Higurashi SOTSU anime has been confirmed to be in production.

Once the news is officially confirmed, this article will be updated with the relevant information.

Higurashi Gou was designed as a standalone story rather than making anime fans wait for the answer arcs in a second season.

The Blu-Ray/DVD pages on the official website reveal that the anime is divided into five story arcs. Notably, the titles of the arcs are slightly different from the originals and focused on deception.

  • Arc 1 (Demon Deceiving/Onidamashi-hen Sono Yon): Episodes 1 – 4
  • Arc 2 (Cotton Deceiving/Watadamashi-hen Sono Ichi): Episodes 5 – 8
  • Arc 3 (Curse Deceiving/Tataridamashi-hen Sono Ichi): Episodes 9 – 13
  • Arc 4 (Catfishing/Nekodamashi-hen): Episodes 14 – 17
  • Arc 5 (Village-Destroying Chapter/Satakowashi-hen): Episodes 18 – 24

Based on these episodes’ design and pacing, the first three arcs in the new anime subverted the original story arcs. Arc 4 contained a new turning point, and then the finale in Arc 5 will serve as a new answers arc.

Thus, Higurashi SOTSU will be a different type of indirect sequel that connects to the overall When They Cry series.

Umineko: When They Cry
Rika’s counterpart Bernkastel plays a role in both the Higurashi and Umikeno anime’s story. Pic credit: Studio DEEN

Higurashi SOTSU connected to the Umineko anime?

The When We Cry series actually goes beyond Higurashi. Starting in 2007, developer 07th Expansion and creator Ryukishi07 began releasing the Umineko: When They Cry series, followed up in October 2019 by the still unfinished Ciconia: When They Cry series.

Studio DEEN already adapted the Umineko anime with 26 episodes in 2009. Fans sometimes referred to Umineko as When They Cry Season 3, and it seems the Higurashi SOTSU anime is a springboard for connecting to these other series in a new way, not as a direct Umineko remake or reboot.

While the three series have different characters and are set in different years, they are apparently connected with an overall universe where supernatural beings essentially treat humans as pieces on a transdimensional gameboard. The visual novel was a murder mystery that used the same setup of question and answers story arcs.

The Higurashi Gou OP has huge hints scattered about, and the first notable tie-in to Umineko is a brief flash of the Rokkenjima chapel of the St. Lucia Academy.

Umineko Higurashi Gou
The creator and director told fans to look for hints in the Higurashi Gou OP, so the brief glimpse of this manor has fans speculating about an Umineko reboot as a sequel. Pic credit: Studio Passione

Episode 7 takes the connection to Umineko a step further by having a red-eyed Rika unexpectedly transform into Frederica Bernkastel, the Witch of the Fragments, who plays a role in the Umineko story.

With hints like these already being shown, let’s hope the Higurashi SOTSU sequel is better than any Umineko reboot/sequel we could have hoped for. Stay tuned!

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