Umineko/Higurashi manga/vn/anime compare-contrast

The more I look into this the more obvious it seems to me that not all methods of consuming the Umineko story are created equal. In fact in an interview that I read with Ryukishi not all that long ago he mentioned that the manga is made specifically to complement the VN. I myself have watched all of the anime and read the manga up to where the anime end, the start of Chiru, and I can say for sure that the manga does fill in a lot of anime gaps, however; I haven’t read the VN yet which is being heavily stressed to me is THE way to experience Umineko.

For those of you that have experienced the different ways of going through the story have you noticed any glaring differences? Anything that would ruin one in the other, or a recommended order to go in? I watched the anime, and then began buying and reading the manga, and plan on eventually playing the VN, but I do feel like I’ve done it in the exact opposite way that would probably be recommended.

Similar deal with Higurashi, I started with the manga and ended up watching the anime ahead of the manga because I was buying it as it was released in English, which was very slowly, so I finished up the story through the anime while only partially through the manga (still haven’t read the VN yet), so I can say for sure that I would recommend reading the manga before watching the anime here. The time that I got the most enjoyment out of Higurashi was in between the manga releases just pouring over the story to that point and trying to figure out what was going on. Again here I can’t really attest to the difference with the VN having not played it, but I do own the complete manga set and I feel like it is pretty complete. So I would say with Higurashi you could go VN or Manga first then watch the anime afterwards especially to pick up some of the bonus content that I’m not sure is covered elsewhere yet like Outbreak.


I am actually hoping to do an arc by arc comparison of these in the future. I’ve only played parts of the VNs, but love the manga, and was introduced through the anime. The anime is a nice digestible way to go through Higurashi but is not great at calling out to the little details that make solving the mysteries possible. The Umineko anime has a good theme song and few other redeeming qualities.
The manga for both Higurashi and and Umineko are really great, and work as a good middle ground for people to get into more of the nitty gritty without committing to a visual novel.
The VN is really great for the max mystery experience. I haven’t gotten to any of the answer arcs in either by the VN, but the presentation put me in the position where I felt more like was observing a mystery instead of watching a story unfold, so I was reading a lot more actively.

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I’ve only read the VNs for Umineko so I can’t say much about it… but I have experienced the three mediums for Higurashi; having read all of the eight original VNS, collected the main two seasons of the anime (hey Siren please release the OVAs) and collected about half of the manga.

I’ll start with the anime: I honestly think it’s a fantastic adaption and I like it a lot. Other than a few weird frames I think DEEN did a pretty good job. In a few ways it doesn’t quite live up to the original VNs, but I think that’s simply a limit of the medium, and it does an excellent job of animating some difficult-to-picture scenes. Like @kyuketsukimiyu mentioned above, some of the finer points of the mystery are lost, and as a result the second season has a few explanatory scenes that sort of fill the viewer in on stuff that hadn’t been included in season 1. If you’ve already read Higurashi in some form, the anime is a very enjoyable retelling of events with less attention to detail. I don’t recommend it as an entry point to the series, simply because I feel the mystery is better told through the other mediums.

The visual novels are my personal favourites. I read the original translations and am slowly making my way through the new Steam releases, and I might be biased since it was my entry point to the series, but I think they tell the story much better. It offers an insight into the thoughts of each arcs’ protagonist that can’t quite be recreated in the other media forms, which really helps the reader immerse themselves in the fear, paranoia and mystery of the early arcs. As more information is revealed, the protagonists seem to have their own theories about the mystery, but almost every arc has a huge twist at the end that turns the current theory on its head. Even the “club activity” sections, where the story takes on a slice-of-life mood were exciting and over-the-top, usually written from the viewpoint of a befuddled Keiichi as he attempts to trick the other club members. There are plenty of recurring phrases and motifs, and the Umineko VNs reference Higurashi’s an awful lot, be it with specific characters, remixed music or just things that Battler yells.
A great example of the VNs is a scene that didn’t make it into Higurashi’s anime, but is one of my favourites: Tatarigoroshi’s “1500 seconds” (on youtube here and here in two parts). It showcases the dissonance between happy and sad scenes that the VNs use so often, and you can really feel the protagonist slipping deeper into the madness of Hinamizawa. These visual novels are what I’d recommend to someone looking to get into the When They Cry series.

As for the manga, I’d say it’s another great adaption. I feel like the story translates better to manga than anime, especially the mystery elements, and the manga-only arcs such as Onisarashi-hen feel like another regular higurashi arc; full of suspense and mystery. Plus, the art is fantastic. I’m not finished reading through them all yet, but I would recommend them as an starting point before the anime, and any fan should read them.

I think it’ll be interesting to see how the upcoming live-action series handles the story, but I can’t say I’m expecting much after the live-action films…


I had actually completely forgot that there are manga original arcs like this despite owning them, but I really did enjoy that. A viewpoint from someone that is very much on the outside looking in on the situation was really cool to read. A question for you because it was something that drew me into this series. In the manga afterwords there was always a blurb written by Ryukishi talking about the volume you had just finished, and in all of the question arcs he mentioned “keys” that would unlock the mystery surrounding Hinamizawa. This fascinated me as I was reading through the first time and led to me reading each volume several times searching for these keys and false keys that he kept mentioning. It might be due to my own short comings but I was only ever able to identify a few of these keys he was talking about such as the missing needle, or the Shinozaki twins. Like I said I’m not sure that it wasn’t just me missing things or what but coming from a manga reader it seemed like a lot of those points kinda floated up out of nowhere in the answer arcs. Do you also feel that was with the manga and if so does the VN do a better job of casting out those little hints to try and make you dig them up.


Well, for the VNs, no part of the mystery felt “unfair”; any truth that came to light was already hinted at in some form or another.
The VNs also mention these keys, and I spent a while trying to find a direct quote but didn’t have any luck (I’ll try to keep an eye out during my next re-read!). At the end of each game, the staff room / all-cast review tends to gently encourage the player to look for clues, and in the last arcs several “factors” are defined to be the cause of the mystery - and that they must be overcome to ensure a good end. Between arcs I found myself going over any unsolved problems in my head and forming my own conclusions, but it wasn’t a conscious effort like in Umineko, where solving the mystery was the main focus. I wasn’t aware that I was trying to solve it until after I’d finished the series,

Anyway, I am not very far into the manga, and already knowing how to solve the mystery these clues or “keys” aren’t as elusive as they would be for a first-time reader but it seems to have similar pacing and sharing of information as the original work… so far. I know that the sudden reveals without clues that you mention happened in the anime, so it could be a case of adaption decay.

I’m a huge fan of the Higurashi console versions, which I’ve played through. Besides the vast graphical improvements from the original VN (the backgrounds are actually drawn and not just manipulated photographs, the sprites have much higher production values, etc.), they also introduce some new arcs (which I won’t get into), dialogue choices that lead to alternate scenes or even endings to the original arcs (there’s a really soul-crushing alternate ending to Meakashi-hen in particular), include event CGs, and implement a path system for the introductory arcs (Onikakushi/Watanagashi/Tatarigoroshi/etc.; the choices you make as Keiichi impact which paths are opened up to you). There’s also full voice acting, even with animated mouths and the original voice cast of the anime.


I like the Higurashi console versions, but did they have to censor it so much? Especially since the Umineko console version was almost completely untouched, as far as I could tell. (And it’s not a rating issue; they both have the same 17+ rating.)

Anyway, if you asked me what my favorite Higurashi adaption was, it would be a toss up between the manga and the drama CDs, although the latter is by far the more loyal to the original. The anime is okay, but it leaves out a lot.


(about Higurashi)
The anime is an OK replacement for the VNs I think? YMMV though. Anime Kai is really good all things considered.

(about Umineko)

I started off with the VN, then the anime, then the manga.

The manga is really good! But IMO…

To be totally and completely frank, the VN is the best way to go, pretty much exclusively because of the music. It is literally good enough to skip the 20~ hour version (manga) and instead read the 60~ hour version (VN). Like, the story and characters are fantastic, but in my opinion the “best” part of it comes from audio. The manga, while good on manga terms, just felt empty in comparison. Is it hyperbole to say that Umineko has the best soundtrack in gaming? Maybe, but that’s what I think.

Regarding which version of the VN to read, I honestly kinda don’t like the PS3 character sprites, so I prefer the original release instead of the graphical patch. Ryukishi’s art is by no means good, but he does one thing great: facial expressions. The PS3 sprites never really captured the same emotion that Ryukishis’s did imo. On top of that, the voice acting is STELLAR in the PS3 version, but they distract from the BGM, which is a problem :frowning:

I went back and watched -certain scenes- with the voice acting. I think that’s the way to go.

I’ve always treated the anime as a supplement, not a replacement, so it’s not as bad to me as it is to others. By most objective measures it’s still pretty terrible though.


As far as Umineko goes, the manga has the appeal of being more familiar to people so I have had a lot more success getting people to read the Umineko manga than any visual novel I have tried. It isn’t perfect, but I think it makes it a really good gateway into the When They Cry series for people unfamiliar.


I’ve read the Umineko VN and really really loved it. (and still Love it)
Than i watched the first 4 Episodes from the anime and literally puked god damn is this an bad Adaption.
And at the moment i read the manga (currently EP3) i like it but i think the manga has the problem that the wonderful OST and Voices are missing.


I haven’t read the works in every format, so I’ll just compare the ones I’ve already read and watched.

I’ve watched the Higurashi anime and read some volumes of the manga, so those are the ones I’ll compare. The Higurashi anime is a pretty good adaptation, and it’s a good way to get into the franchise if you want something fast, but it’s not very detailed. Nevertheless, like I said, it is pretty good, all the characters’ personalities are portrayed well, though their inner thoughts could do with a bit more detail. It’s also a bit more action focused than the manga, I think, it feels like it focuses more on the action and intensity of the fights rather than the mystery sometimes. As for the manga, it’s pretty good. It gives you a more detailed perspective on the world of Higurashi and quite a few things not mentioned in the anime are mentioned there. The characters are also portrayed slightly better. Oh well, I haven’t read the original VNs though, so I can’t comment on the original format of Higurashi, unfortunately.

I’ve watched the Umineko anime, read one of the VNs and the manga, so I can compare all of them for this one. The anime is, well… not well-made. It’s extremely rushed and almost without detail at all, some parts of it are done wrong and contradict the solutions of some of the clues and the animation is very lacking. The only good thing I’ll give it is the voice acting, the voice actors have all done a good job, especially Beatrice’s, she really makes Beatrice sound like a magnificent fabled witch. The manga, which is the version I’ve read most of, is very good. It gives time to every thing to develop, even though it feels a bit tedious sometimes and is very detailed in clues. The characters in it are also portrayed well, I really liked it how Bernkastel and Lambdadelta made more of an impression when they appeared very little in the question arcs (just the tea parties and Episode 4) rather than in the anime. As for the VN, it’s the same as the manga, just not as visual, of course. It’s pretty good and very well developed and it’s music is wonderful.

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Not some extensive analysis or looking at the competence of the adaptations (I think the people here have covered a lot of what I would’ve said already), but I was watching the anime opening and I just now noticed that, in the background of a couple frames, the lyrics to the chanting part of the VN opening are written in. I hope this isn’t common knowledge already. In any case, I found it pretty cool:

I dislike the anime itself an almost ridiculous amount, but the opening never fails to impress me.

(I hope this is the appropriate thread for this?)


Oh dang, that is pretty cool. If only DEEN had put that much effort into the actual anime.

In terms of Higurashi, I’ve seen the anime, read up to Eye Opening in the manga, and read the first arc of the VN. I think the Higurashi anime is really well-made (well, except for some Studio Deen animation bs), but it does leave out a bunch from the VN, even just in the first arc. The manga is a great adaptation, and I actually prefer some scenes in the manga to the anime, specifically the final scene in Watanagashi. I didn’t play the first arc of the VN with the sound on (it was a few years ago and I read it during a bunch of lunch periods with one of my friends), so I can’t comment on that, but overall I think all the mediums of Higurashi are pretty well done.

Umineko is a totally different story.
I’ve finished the VN, read up to EP 6 in the manga, and I dropped the anime because it just doesnt adapt Umineko well enough. It’s too dense of a story for a 9 hour anime.
The manga, on the other hand, is great. It’s a neat perfect adaptation of the VN, and it’s only real shortcoming is that it’s a manga and it doesn’t have the music that the VN has. I was introduced to Umineko via the manga, and the first volume hooked me so hard I didn’t stop thinking about it for a solid week. The VN is complete perfection, aside from EP 1 taking a little long to get going and the dialogue being a little oddly phrased (but on reread the dialogue is perfect because of all the little clues peppered in there), but overall the VN is the best way to experience Umineko. You can’t go wrong with the manga, though.