When They Cry Vol. 1

Director: Chiaki Kon


Cast: Various

Country of Origin - Japan

Discs - 4

Distributor - Section 23

Reviewer - Scott MacDonald

Date - 05/13/14

The Series (5/5)

   When They Cry is one of the most interesting anime series to find it's way into my mailbox in sometime. The packaging describes the series as following a transplant to a small town Keiich, as he discovers himself in the midst of a disturbing mystery ingrained in the town's recent past. However, while that may be accurate to the point it sells short the series as a whole. To use a few non-anime reference points the series at times reminded me of shows and films like Twin Peaks, The Decalogue, Dead and Buried, and the Fog.

   When They Cry doesn't have a straight forward narrative as one might expect. It is a 24 episode season, that is broken down into multiple shorter story arcs.   The series involves a town called Hinamizawa, that has been cursed by a demon Oyashiro. Every year during the town's Cotton Festival bad and horrific things occur. The first series of When they Cry is broken down into 6 arcs following different characters, mostly young (though there is a short adult narrative set in the town's past). The arcs in the show occasionally have overlap with situations and characters from one appearing in the others.

   The show has an eerie small town horror vibe that I found very appealing. There is some solid violence and gore, fortunately in favor of the aforementioned atmosphere it is never overused. The animation by Studio Deen is stunning, and really compliments the overall feel of the show.   Because of the multiple narrative arcs, the show never really takes time to slow down and is never truly dull, and is always compelling.

 

Audio/Video (3.5/5)

   When They Cry is a 10 year old anime series, and it does show a bit of it's age. That being it looks quite good. The 1:78:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer presented by Sentai Filmworks looks quite solid. Colors are reproduced nicely, and there is excellent detail throughout.

   The audio is presented in both English and Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 tracks and are both solid with dialogue and score coming through quite well.

 

Extras (1/5)

   As per usual the only extra is a clean opening and closing animation.

 

Overall

   When They Cry is a subtle, eerie, and altogether compellling small town horror anime series. The Blu-ray looks and sound incredible, but is lacking in extras.  Since that is the usual for Blu-ray releases such as these, I'm going to HIGHLY RECOMMEND this, based on the series and the A/V alone.