When They Cry (A J!-Ent Anime DVD Review)

October 27, 2009 by  

“When They Cry” is an exciting and shocking psychological horror anime that will leave the audience breathless. An amazing piece of work!


Image courtesy of © Ryuishi07/07th Expansion, Studio Deen. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: When They Cry – Complete Box Set

DURATION: 650 Minutes


COMPANY: Studio Deen/GENEON/FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: 16+

Release Date: July 21, 2009

Based on the Original Story by Ryukishi 07/07th Expansion

Directed by Chiaki Kon

Sound Design by Hozumi Goda

Character Design by Kyuta Sakai

Anime Production by Studio Deen


Featuring the following voice talent:

Souichiro Hoshi/ Grant George as Keiichi Maebara

Mai Nakahara/ Mela Lee as Rena Ryugu

Satsuki Yukino/ Kelli Kassidi as Mion Sonozaki

Satsuki Yukino/ Kelli Kassidi as Shion Sonozaki

Mika Kanai/ Minx Lee as Satoko Hojo

Yukari Tamura/ Reba West as Rika Furude

Yuu Kobayashi/ Darrel Guilbeau as Satoshi Hojo

Chafurin/ Joe Dimucci as Kuraudo Oishi

Toru Ookawa/ Kyle Herbert as Jirou Tomitake

Miki Itou/ Karen Strassman as Miyo Takano

Toshihiko Seki/ Dave Mallow as Kyosuke Irie

Daisuke Ono/ Patrick Seitz as Mamoru Akasaka

Summer 1983… Hinamizawa is a tranquil village, but its inhabitants have been plagued by strange deaths and unexplained disappearances seemingly every year. Some say it’s the terrifying curse of Hinamizawa’s legendary deity, Oyashiro-sama, causing victims to be spirited away by monsters, but is this town harboring dark, horrifying secrets even more sinister than any superstition or myth?

When They Cry is an anime based on a computer game series of the same name. The game and anime are both by Ryukishi07/07th Expansion.

The story centers on Keiichi Maebara and his group of friends who live in the small town of Hinamizawa. On the outside, it seems to be a very quiet, peaceful town but once you get past the exterior, you find out there is something much more dark and sinister going on in this town.

Murders, curses, disappearances, conspiracies, betrayals, and paranoia surround everyone who lives in this town. For the last four years, there have been mysterious deaths and disappearances after the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival and the latest festival is about to happen and the deaths and disappearances seem right behind once again.

The residents of the town believe that all these occurrences are the work of Oyashiro-sama, a local deity that is believed to curse those that betray him or those who try to hurt the land surrounding Hinamizawa.

Keiichi doesn’t think much of this so called curse until he is surrounded by the deaths and disappearances of people first hand. He starts to suspect his friends and suddenly he feels like someone may be after him…

Could someone really be after him or could it just be paranoia? Is he indeed the one being chased or is he the one going after the people around him without knowing? Are there villains using the curse of Oyashiro-sama as a decoy to commit murders and other crimes… Or does the curse actually exist?


“When They Cry” focuses on the following main characters:


Keiichi Maebara – Keiichi Maebara is one of the main characters of the series. He just moved to Hinamizawa, but because of his friendly personality it didn’t take long for him to make friends. He starts learning about the various things that go on in Hinamizawa and quickly starts learning that not everything is as peaceful as it looks…

Rena Ryugyu – Rena Ryuugu is one of the girls in the group of friends. She had just moved to Hinamizawa a year ago and firmly believes in the curse of Oyashiro-sama even though she is new to town. She is in love with cute things that no one else finds cute… and often goes to the town dump to find more treasures.

Mion Sonozaki – Mion Sonozaki is the leader of the group of friends and is quite the tomboy. She is the heir to the Sonozaki family, one of the great families of Hinamizawa as well as being a yakuza family. She is definitely confident, strong, and is very caring about her friends. Because of her lineage, she has an insight of everything going on in Hinamizawa. She has a twin sister named Shion.

Satoko Hojo – Satoko Hojo is another one in the group of friends and is one of the younger girls. She lives with Rika and has had quite a hard life despite her young age. Her parents were killed a few years before and her older brother Satoshi disappeared mysteriously. She was living with her abusive aunt and uncle but now lives with Rika and tries her best to live a normal life.

Rika Furude – Rika Furude is another girl in the group of friends and is at first look, a very cute little girl but in the end is one of the most complex characters of the whole series. She is the head of the Furude Shrine and has an active part at the yearly Cotton Drifting Festival. She lives with Satoko and most of her conversations consist of just saying “Mii~”.

Shion Sonozaki – Shion Sonozaki is Mion’s twin sister that is sort of separated from the main Sonozaki family because it was a bad omen for their family to have twins. She and her sister get along very well and actually switch places randomly without people knowing. For the most part she is more girly than her sister and works as a waitress at Angel Mort. She enjoys the fact that she doesn’t have to take on the responsibilities of being the heir to the household, but she holds a dark secret…

Secondary Characters

Satoshi Hojo – At first, we don’t see Satoshi at all and just keep hearing about him. He finally appears toward the end of the series. He is Satoko’s older brother who is very protective of her. One day, he mysteriously disappears…

Kuraudo Oishi – Kuraudo Oishi is the head detective at Okinomiya Police station that wants to figure out the serial murders also known as Oyashirosama’s curse.

Jirou Tomitake – A mysterious cameraman that shows up to town one day and seems to be a friend of Miyo Takano.

Miyo Takano – Miyo Takano is the head nurse at the local hospital and is also very knowledgeable about the Oyashiro-sama legend.

Kyosuke Irie – Kyosuke Irie is a doctor that works at the local hospital and he is also the head coach of the little league team. He has a weird Lolita complex.

Mamoru Akasaka – Mamoru Akasaka is a police officer from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department that shows up to Hinamizawa to find clues on a missing grandson of a high-ranking official. When he gets there, he encounters Rika Furude.

“When They Cry” features a total of 26 episodes on six DVDs. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:


  • EPISODE 1 (“Spirited Away by the Demon” Chapter ep 1)- THE BEGINNING – Keiichi is new to Hinamizawa and is enjoying the life in a small town with his great new friends… but then he finds out about a murder that happened…
  • EPISODE 2 (“Spirited Away by the Demon” Chapter ep 2)- THE SECRET – Keiichi asks his friends about the murders that happened but they tell him they know nothing. However, he finds out otherwise…
  • EPISODE 3 (“Spirited Away by the Demon” Chapter ep 3)- SUSPICION – After realizing that someone is after his life, Keiichi becomes suspicious of his friends, but the feeling is mutual…
  • EPISODE 4 (“Spirited Away by the Demon” Chapter ep 4)- DISTURBANCE – Keiichi finds himself not being able to trust his close friends anymore, but the result is something no one expected…
  • EPISODE 5 (“Cotton Drifting” Chapter ep 1)- JEALOUSY – Keiichi meets Mion’s twin sister, Fashion


  • EPISODE 6 (“Cotton Drifting” Chapter ep 2)- TAKANO – Keiichi and Shion go with Miyo and Tomitake to sneak into a shrine on the night of the Cotton Drifting festival.
  • EPISODE 7 (“Cotton Drifting” Chapter ep 3)- LIES – Keiichi admits to sneaking into the shrine… but then Satoko and Rika mysteriously go missing.
  • EPISODE 8 (“Cotton Drifting” Chapter ep 4)- WISH – Keiichi and Rena confront Mion about the disappearances of their friends, but the result is something neither of them expected.
  • EPISODE 9 (“Curse Killing Chapter ep 1)- OLDER BROTHER – Keiichi finds out that Satoshi, Satoko’s older brother, mysteriously disappeared but he keeps hearing different reasons.
  • EPISODE 10 (“Curse Killing Chapter ep 2)- BOND – Satoko misses a few days of school and her violent uncle is back in town. Keiichi goes to check on her and is horrified at what he finds.


  • EPISODE 11 (“Curse Killing” Chapter ep 3)- BORDERLINE – Keiichi decides to save Satoko from her uncle, no matter what it takes….
  • EPISODE 12 (“Curse Killing” Chapter ep 4- LOST ITEM – Keiichi is now unsure if he did what he did the other night because his friends say he was elsewhere…
  • EPISODE 13 (“Curse Killing” Chapter ep 5)- APOLOGY – Losing his grip on reality, he goes to check on Satoko who needs medical attention. Later on, he finds horrific scene that leads to a big misunderstanding…
  • EPISODE 14 (“Time Wasting” Chapter ep 1)- HINAMIZAWA – Mamoru Akasaka comes to Hinamizawa to investigate the kidnapping of the grandson of a high-ranking official.


  • EPISODE 15 (“Time Wasting” Chapter ep 2)- SIGN – Akasaka and Oishi find the missing child, but Akasaka soon finds out the ominous meaning of Rika’s warning.
  • EPISODE 16 (“Eye Opening” Chapter ep 1)- FIRST LOVE – Shion takes Mion’s place and falls in love with Satoshi.
  • EPISODE 17 (“Eye Opening” Chapter ep 2)- RESPONSIBILITY – Satoshi apologizes to Shion, thinking she is Mion so she reveals that she is Shion. Satoshi’s aunt goes missing and the two get questioned by the police. After being released, Shion must face something worse: her family.
  • EPISODE 18 (“Eye Opening” Chapter ep 3)- ONI’S BLOOD LINE – Shion finds out that Satoshi goes missing and she investigates the history of the murders. She then expreiences dejavu when she meets Keiichi.


  • EPISODE 19 (“Eye Opening” Chapter ep 4)- REVENGE – Shion suspects her family is behind the mysterious deaths and disappearances including Satoshi’s and decides to take things into her own hands.
  • EPISODE 20 (“Eye Opening” Chapter ep 5)- COLD HANDS – Shion keeps exacting her revenge on everyone who she thinks is responsible for Satoshi’s disappearance.
  • EPISODE 21 (“Eye Opening” Chapter ep 6)- CONDEMNATION – Shion’s revenge takes a turn for the worst and for a second she realizes she might have gone too far, but it’s too late.
  • EPISODE 22 (“Atonement” Chapter ep 1)- HAPPINESS – Rena meets her father’s girlfriend, Rina. She seems nice but she finds out that she’s not what she seems.


  • EPISODE 23 (“Atonement” Chapter ep 2)- PLACE TO RETURN – Rena confronts Rina and Rina tries to kill Rena.
  • EPISODE 24 (“Atonement” Chapter ep 3)- DOCUMENT 34 – Rena studies Takano’s notes about Oyashiro and finds out the truth…
  • EPISODE 25 (“Atonement” Chapter ep 4)- EARTH INVASION – Rena has become totally untrusting of her friends, and has found out the truth behind Oyashiro-sama’s curse… aliens! …What?
  • EPISODE 26 (“Atonement” Chapter ep 5)- RETAKE – Rena takes the school hostage to get her point across. This is the final showdown to hopefully get out of the curse of Oyashiro-sama.


When They Cry is presented in 16:9. The animation is high quality and does a great job of switching back and forth between a light comedic mood to a dark scary mood. The character designs lean more toward shojo manga but looks great. For audio you have the option of either Japanese or English. There are only English subtitles available.


There are no special features on the discs, however there are Geneon previews available on each disc.

For audiences watching this anime with no prior knowledge of this series, it will most likely be rather confusing. But I hope that detract everyone. I know it confused me quite a bit. One of the main reasons is because this series is not linear. There are story arcs in this anime and the story resets itself after almost each arc and restarts with a slightly different story with the most of the same exact characters and some similar events such as the Cotton Drifting Festival and the story of the dam construction. Pretty much, each arc there is a different killer and a different outcome.

Each arc starts out light-hearted and funny, revolving around the main characters: Keiichi, Rena, Mion, Satoko, Rika, and some arcs Shion as well. After each arc, you see a different side to each character for better or for worse.

After you figure out what’s going on in the series, you realize the whole series is a serious mind trip. After the first 4 episodes, I was utterly confused and in shock at what happened. Then the series goes on as if nothing happened. Actually, it resets.

I don’t recommend this anime for the faint of heart. The art and humor of this series is very cute, but pretty much after the first episode of each arc, the story turns rather dark and scary. Don’t let the art fool you, this series is rather dark. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s actually rather intriguing. What’s also intriguing is how quickly some of the characters turn psychotic and dark so quickly when the second before they were being cute and bubbly. The characters in this series are absolutely fascinating.

The art and character designs go from cute and bright to psychotic and scary in a second depending on the scenario. Despite the drastic change, I think that it’s pulled off rather well. The seiyuus in the Japanese cast are superb and the English cast does a wonderful job too. The various roles call for diverse acting just within individual characters. Certain characters go from being super cute to psychotic in an instant. Some of the notable Japanese cast includes Souichiro Hoshi, Satsuki Yukino, Mika Kanai, Miki Itou, just to name a few.

This series is suspenseful, entertaining and keeps the viewer guessing what’s going to happen next. It reminds me of Boogie-Pop Phantom because of the suspense and mystery as well as the darkness of the characters.

This series is like a puzzle, after each arc, you learn different things about each character that you didn’t know before and you put all the pieces together. The last two arcs act as answer arcs to two of the previous arcs and we get to see more of what happened and some previous questions are answered.

Bottomline: After getting over the initial shock of the first four episodes, I was intrigued on what could possibly happen next. This series definitely keeps the audience in their toes and constantly wanting to know what happens next. For Those who enjoy psychological thrillers, this is definitely a series they will enjoy.

This is a great series for those looking for something suspenseful and rather different from anything else you’ve seen before.


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