The When They Cry Localisation Appreciation Week
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://rokkenjima.org/the-when-they-cry-localisation-appreciation-week/
Here is the collection of Tweets and Tumblr posts made throughout the week under the Hashtag! You can find the more detailed forum posts below.
@Samus: This is art to show my appreciation for Umineko, as well as the teams behind the English translations. Huge thanks to everyone who made Umineko able to be read by English speakers, and to Ryukishi for creating such a tale.
I guess I’ll get the ball rolling! flexes hands I’d draw some art, but that wouldn’t end well for me or anyone reading this, so I’ll just stick to gushing in text.
My first encounter with When They Cry was the Higurashi Anime, when I was still a budding weeb. Eventually that trail lead me to the Umineko Visual Novel as translated by The Witch Hunt, and I’d found my all-time favourite work of fiction. Not VN or anime, but work of fiction period. Higurashi was the coolest thing when I saw it, but Umineko took my love to a profound new level. I’d found a story that had changed me, changed the way I think and perceive the world. I can’t say that of many things. I’ve even written numerous embarrassing blogs about the series on my old blog Kakera Complex in the past, and I have fond memories of participating in the AnimeSuki discussion. Yeah, this post is gonna be pretty Umineko-biased, I’ll let others cover the Higurashi side of things~
Not long ago, I never would’ve imagined that Umineko would ever be officially localised, yet alone released on Steam for everyone to see! And it wasn’t just Umineko, but an updated release with a new translation by The Witch Hunt, HD resolution, and the ability to swap between English/Japanese text and old/new sprites! The new sprites for Umineko have received a lot of flack since their release, and I know I’m not exactly in the majority when I say this, but as someone who has played through Umineko with PC and PS3 graphics, I can proudly say that I hold the new Steam sprites above both of them. The new sprites are super stylised and to me really capture the unique feel of Umineko’s unique characters better than the more generic anime-style sprites of the PS3 release. You can see the age in the adult’s eyes, and the depth of expressions has been specially tailored to match Ryukishi’s own sprites, so it’s more of a natural evolution of Ryukishi’s art to me. And the shading! It’s such a treat to look at character sprites with decent shading. I know the sprites are a point of contention and debate in the community, and I don’t want to add fuel to that, but I felt it appropriate to share here in the spirit of appreciation that these sprites really hit the mark for me personally, and I’m super thankful for the hard work put into bringing them to us.
And that’s really the point of this whole project in my eyes. People are quick to criticise things they take issue with, but with society and the internet being the way it is, genuine praise and appreciation is kind of hard to come by. Given that, I can’t help but empathise with Mangagamer’s developers who have put so much time into the Steam releases of Higurashi and Umineko and hear a word of appreciation so rarely amidst all the criticisms people are quick to throw. That’s why, at least for this week, I’d like for people to put aside those thoughts, and take the time to share their appreciation for the good work these devs have done for us. Seriously, Higurashi and Umineko on Steam is practically a miracle!
To the Higurashi and Umineko localisation teams employed by Mangagamer: Thank you so much for bringing these games to Steam, and for doing such a damn good job with these updated releases. You’re exposing the When They Cry games to a much broader audience than ever before, and I can’t wait to see them released in their entirety. You’re doing an amazing job, so keep it up!
Here’s my accompanying tweet. Let’s get that Hashtag trending!
I can’t draw either so I’ll stick to gushing as well.
WTC has been really dear to my heart since I discovered Higurashi around 6 years ago while I was studying at Uni. I can’t really remember what it was but there was something about the series I really enjoyed and I quickly burned through it (but weirdly enough only the first season and to this day I’ve never finished Kai) and despite being in Uni I not only bought the DVD (Geneon-version) but I also bought all the manga that had been released at that point (up to Tatarigoroshi vol 2) before I finally imported the VN’s from Mangagamer.
But while I really enjoyed Higurashi, and still do, it’s Umineko that I hold the dearest of any series I’ve ever read.
Just like with Higurashi my first introduction to the series was with the anime though it took a while before I got around to watching it because of how different it sounded from Higurashi (I read up on it beforehand, including some spoilers sadly) and while I began to watch it I don’t think I even finished the entire series before I decided to import the VN from Japan so I could read the original version. And despite liking the Anime back then I never though I would find something that would change me the way Umineko has.
For any newer readers here you might have read Aspirety and others comment about how Umineko changed the way we see the world and how we think. That’s not hyperbole because I know for a fact that it happened to me as well. While I certainly didn’t understand everything in the series then (I think Witch Hunt were translating Ep 7 when I got Chiru) there was still something about it that really connected with me and that feeling has just continued to grow with me even today and I can still find comments and blogs that makes me think about the series or a character in a completely different way than I had before. Because there’s a power in Umineko that I haven’t found anywhere else and that this only came about because of a group of fans decided to actually translate the VN for no gain for themselves is amazing.
But then came what started to happen on Steam these last few years. I remember that I one day actually found Higurashi on Steam Greenlight and I was both shocked and hyped just thinking about how Higurashi actually might get an official widespread release in the west, on Steam none the less. And yet there was a quiet voice in my head saying that Steam was for more normal games and a VN like Higurashi would never be popular enough to be greenlit. But amazingly it actually happened and Higurashi actually came out. Even better was that it wasn’t just a port of their earlier translation it was a completely redone translation with completely new sprites added. It was a dream come true to see the work of one of my favourite authors actually being released to a much bigger and more available market.
Yet there was still something missing because even though I love Higurashi it’s just not Umineko and while I always hoped for the best I never even had any hopes of it being released on Steam as well(since, while they had sold a digital Japanese version of the game with links to Witch Hunts translation, they had never worked on it themselves) but then one day it finally happened again and Umineko was also announced for Steam. And not only were they releasing it they also revealed that they would add new artwork (and while I personally don’t like the style it does look good and I can fully understand why they chose it as creating new artwork for all of the characters in Umineko would be a nightmare) and that they also would work together with Witch Hunt to update their earlier translation.
Seeing the upswing in popularity for these two series has been amazing and been a dream come true. Sometimes I go to Umineko’s review page on Steam just to read people’s thought about the series, I have started to follow some new readers journey through the series on Youtube just to be able to witness their reaction every strange and shocking thing that happens and I follow you new readers here on the forum as you try to solve the mysteries that the series provides. It’s something I never thought I would ever experience and being able to do it now is amazing.
Yes there are negative discussions and criticism aimed at the series which is really unfortunate and I’m really sad to see people attack others for having differing oppinions and thoughts about certain things in the series. But that’s, sadly, a part of the internet but that only means that we have to do our best to keep this forum a haven for civil and friendly discussions and debates about both series.
But in the end despite any negative comments that other people might say I know for a fact that I, along with legions of thankful fans, are overjoyed that we finally can read these two wonderful series on Steam and that we now, for the first time, can share it with so many newer readers. So thank you Mangagamer and Witch Hunt for giving me the opportunity to read Higurashi and Umineko and to once again remind me why I love these two series. Both series means the world for me and I’m so happy that there are now so many new people who will experience these two stories for the first time, all because of your hard work.
So once again thank you and good luck with your future endeavors which hopefully one day will lead to everyone once again gathering around again, hopefully that day will be When something else Cries.
Since I’m also very bad at art I too shall gush.
I happened across Higurashi back in 2014 when I saw a review of the anime on youtube. The youtuber gave it a glowing review but what caught me was the opening song. To this day, my favorite opening of any anime is the Higurashi opening. The creepiness and the characters just kept me coming back for more. I binged the last half of Kai the night before graduation ceremony. Best night ever.
Once I had finished Higurashi I went looking for something to fill the void that it left in me. I never could really find anything. Nothing could do that atmosphere, that mystery, those characters, that… well everything quite as well as Higurashi. I was in love with it.
Along with Higurashi I also started playing osu! back in 2014. I went looking for music from higurashi in osu! and found some songs from something that had a similar title. The music was fantastic and I soon took to youtube and the rest of the internets looking for more. I had stumbled across Umineko.
I knew that Higurashi was based on a visual novel, but at that point I had never read a visual novel nor really did I have any intention of doing so. And then I found Umineko. I thought, “Oh, this might be a good watch. I’ll check out some reviews for it.” To my dismay they almost all said that the anime was terrible and that it only adapted half of the material. Furthermore most people who had read the vn said that the anime left out really important/good stuff.
I thought, “Well, maybe I can read the visual novel instead. Surely someone’s translated it.” Nope. Couldn’t find a copy and didn’t want to order from some shady place. So I wallowed in despair for a while. Then, out of nowhere I see that Mangagamer is localizing Higurashi. I was excited. I was looking forward to playing Higurashi, if for no other reason than the nostalgia. Then the thought hit me, “What if they adapt Umineko too?” I had, up to that point, avoided spoilers about Umineko because I wanted to be able to solve it myself. I always kind of regretted not really trying to solve Higurashi while I was watching it. I told myself that this time I would solve it.
And then, lo and behold, Mangagamer does announce that they will be localizing Umineko. I was ecstatic. Then it was released and finally, after all that, I’m able to sit here and read Umineko. So for all of that I wanted to say, thanks Mangagamer for bringing Umineko and Higurashi to us. Thanks to Witch Hunt and all the other people that have been working tirelessly on these games for all these years. Thanks to the community that introduced me to all of this. I really am so glad for all this. I haven’t been around long and I haven’t had Umineko change me like @Aspirety. But I have enjoyed every minute of the reading (except for some of Episode 4, you know what you did Episode 4) and I’ve been blown away by the wonderful and complex story and characters that I’ve gotten to experience thanks to Ryukishi and 07.
Also, regarding the sprites that stirred up so much controversy; I’ve grown rather attached to them. I actually like all three sets of sprites pretty well. From the odd expressiveness of the original art, to the beauty of the ps3 sprites to the shading, expressions and overall quality of the steam sprites. They are all great in their own particular way. I can’t really say that one is better than another. They all just highlight different things about Umineko that make Umineko great.
Here’s to more When they Cry!
What When they Cry means to me.
I feel like I’ve told this story many times before, and possibly even on here before, but I feel it bears repeating for the purpose of this exercise. I have been an anime fan for years now, in fact I was an anime fan before I ever knew what anime was it was just a cool cartoon that came on late at night on Sci-Fi network that I had to close my door for so my parents wouldn’t hear the cursing. Over time Toonami came along and introduced me to more anime and finally gave me a grasp of what this medium was that I had fallen in love with. Anime has stuck with me for a long time now through childhood, teenage years, and now into adulthood, however; I liked anime but there was never one series or genre that I ever got truly passionate about until one day I by chance I bought a book called Yen Press from my local WalMart that had a picture of a girl in a white dress with a purple bow tie and a cool hat wielding a cleaver, easiest buy ever.
Of course this particular issue was highlighting a series I had never heard of called Higurashi. I read a letter from the editor talking about how he had never read anything that scared him in the way that this series did so I decided to give it a try since “horror” has never had much of an effect on me. After reading the two chapters that were in that volume and seeing Rena’s iconic “YOU’RE LYING” line I was absolutely hooked. I went on to gather all things Higurashi I could get my hands on which was admittedly limited at this time only two volumes had been translated.
The amount of times I was tempted to go to the internet in the years that followed and read all of the Higurashi manga were innumerable, but I knew the way to experience this was indeed to wait in between volumes and dissect and break down every little detail, or as Ryukishi called them keys, as I waited for that next volume.
Now the reason I said all that was to say this. Higurashi finally filled a niche in my life and helped me find a genre of media of any kind that I could be truly passionate for. To this day Higurashi is still my favorite series period, not because its the greatest or it doesn’t have flaws, but because my experience with this story opened up a whole new world to me, one that I never knew existed and it consumed me whole. Later on Umineko would come along and drag me even further into this pit.
Today when I’m looking for something new to watch/read/play whatever, I look to the genre tags to get an idea of what I’m dealing with. Any time I see that psych horror listed it gets an automatic look in my book which has led me to discover several more series that I have absolutely adored, and I owe that all to discovering a series called Higurashi, and I owe my discovery of these series, and ability to consume them natively, to Yen Press and Manga Gamer. So from one fan of this amazing series to I’m sure another I say thank you so much for choosing to take a chance and localize these series that how become so near and dear to me.
And that’s a wrap. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed! This was a great success.