2009 in anime: #5 Don’t be absent tomorrow…

by Grungi

(Eighth post in the “12 days in anime” 2009 project led by Mega Megane Moé. Other participating blogs include Shameful Otaku Secret!, Continuing World, Fighting for Nippon!, We love maids., Bokutachi no BLOG, Anime Profiling, Desu ex Machina, Blogging about Anime, I Will Show You Terror in a Handful of Flans, Pontifus, Open Your Mind, ∑Xce7ion, Ganbatte Forever!, Mikotoism, wat u say, Memories of Eternity, Simplicity, Gabrielino Anime Club, UNMEI KAIHEN, Nigorimasen!, Mainichi Anime Yume and We Remember Love)

Many animes made me laugh.

Many animes made me care for characters that aren’t even “real”.

Many animes have brought me to the brink of tears and beyond.

Many animes bored me to no end.

Many animes made me wonder wha the hell was going on.

But only very few animes scared me.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni did.

And it did early on, in the first arc even. I was prepared to watch a complex, gory anime, yet that didn’t help, came episode 3. The moment that’ll stay engraved in my mind for a long time is the scene where Rena and Mion come to visit Keiichi, who stayed home because he “was sick”.

Oh, sure, the scene starts out innocently enough, after all, it’s two girls visiting their classmate, right ? How can it compare to things like someone ripping her own nails off or torturing a child ? And look, they even joke, and the girls brought Keiichi something to eat. But as they are about to leave…

That’s when the creepy music kicks in, and they start asking embarrassing questions to Keiichi. That’s also when their eyes get these scary slit pupils. It sounds like a cheap trick, but it works very well, helping to build the tension.

And one can easily put oneself in Keiichi’s shoes, as those two girls seem to know more than they should, and speak in that soft but menacing tone he’s heard them use more than once. Perhaps the most unnerving part of all this is that they never do anything. You’re sure something horrible is going to happen, but it never does.

But the dialogue between Mion, Rena and Keiichi, as chilling as it is, isn’t the scariest moment of the episode, nor is the following scene where Keiichi finds a needle hidden in the food his “friends” gave him.

No, it’s the instant just before that, when the girls leave, the door almost closes, but suddenly reopens, showing Mion’s face way too close !

“Don’t be absent tomorrow…”

That couple of seconds is guaranteed to haunt me for a long, long time…