single review: Shimamiya Eiko “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”

I’m back!

To commemorate the return, and just in time for the Halloween season (a short three days), I will be reviewing some fun horror-related tunes, whether they be from a horror anime, or have some concept/affiliation to the horror genre in any way. First up, I’ll be reviewing the opening tracks from a fun, mysterious anime series known as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, or When They Cry for Western fans.

An iconic opening track, “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”, titled just like its tie-in, is a single released by I’ve Sound alum Shimamiya Eiko, and it propelled her career by making it her best-selling single. How does this track and its B-side hold up now, with a new Higurashi adaptation airing, and does it still spook to this day?

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni / all alone
For more ‘Shimamiya Eiko’ reviews, visit the archive.

Sadly could not find any promotional images for the single (it’s also a much-older single, so the likelihood I’d find it was slim). So deal with it! (lol)


Romanization: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Translation: When the Cicadas Cry

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the short breaths to the strange chants in the background to the disjointed dark synth instrumental, we are thrown into the fires of “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni“. The synth carries on throughout the entirety of the song, giving it a haunting edge. To add to this is Eiko’s robotic verses merged with ghostly but beautiful vocalizations. Her vocal prowess comes into play when we build up to the song’s hypnotic and mesmerizing chorus that has us almost singing along before we are returned to familiar territory. Nearly closing the song is the track’s hypnotizing instrumental, which has quite the I’ve Sound (lol). It’s a great track, and quite the memorable opener, though I find myself enjoying this song less upon constant listen. You do have to admit, when the cicadas cry, it’s hauntingly beautiful.

This is definitely not uploaded on an official YouTube channel, but it’ll suffice!

all alone

Rating: 3 out of 5.

all alone” is the B-side of the single, and it goes for the truly I’ve Sound approach. In what almost sounds like it could have been produced by KOTOKO (please fact check me on this), ‘all alone’ kicks off with a piano/synth melody that has Eiko vocalizing in the background before it goes into high gear with more electronic synth to give it further edge. Running at 6 minutes, it is a long track, and it maintains the same sound throughout, and it only slightly changes its tone towards the end all while still keeping up with the same instrumental. It’s not a bad track by any means, but it does wane and I find that this song all alone might not warrant too many listens.


Not a fantastic single, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it!

The title track is perhaps one of the most iconic horror anime openings, due in part to its interesting style and mysteriousness, and the visuals in the opening are quite spooky. The single’s B-side doesn’t really hold much in terms of listening value but if you are fan of I’ve Sound and enjoy their signature synthy style, it is definitely for you. I may find myself revisiting this single every October to really give myself the spooks. Once you hear those cicadas cry, you better hide under the covers!

MUST-LISTEN: ひぐらしのなく頃に

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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