⚠ Reviewing Info: How I rate/review stuff is explained on my website which can be found through my profile. But TDLR; My personal opinion has much bigger weight than “critical” novel length “objective” mumbo jumbo.
⚠ Review layout: Minimal/Lazy MAL non-h
⚠ Review type: Anime
⚠ Note: Still testing review layouts. This line will be removed when I’m satisfied with the layout.
⬛Review (short ver):
⚡In a nutshell: Nostalgia hell trip with more fantasy twists and sweeter drama. A lot tamer than OG. A sweet friendship story. Smiley face.
NOTE: Review is about both seasons, maybe some spoilers as well.
✅ Voice cast remains the same pretty much and they still have excellent voice and voice acting
✅ Characters are still very enjoyable (interesting & unique)
✅ Story / gore content is still rather hard to digest as prequels
✅ Satisfying finale
✅ As Anime original sequel It was pretty enjoyable overall
✅ Great music/ost
✅ Great emotional value
❔ More focus on fantasy and drama this time which I didn’t mind
❔ Story main focus is on 2 characters.
❌ Visuals & gore a lot milder than prequels.
❌ Sotsu went towards trope that I’m personally not fond of (or the whole foreshadowing of first season)
❌ Very “screw you” story content
❌ Obviously, mystery element is much weaker than original series (because mystery is solved in prequels)
⬛Review (comments/longer ver):
Before I actually rant more about various content of Gou & Sotsu, let’s get few things out of the way.
- THIS IS ANIME ORIGINAL SEQUEL. For sakes of normal human thought train. Watch from season 1 not pick this as starting point.
- I saw prequels A LONG TIME AGO, so I will be comparing them to these
- This specific review will have spoilers as there are few specific things I want to rant about.
- Have a nice day. ~NIPAAH
Okay, so let me elaborate about the pros and cons a bit for starters. I absolutely adored that pretty much most of voice cast (especially on main characters) were the same, they all have lovable, unique and interesting voices as in the old prequels. Plus, characters themselves are still as I loved them. Although, Rena felt a lot moronic here from what I had in my memories. Now with the whole cruel torture / gore element I felt Gou & Sotsu were a lot tamer. Prequels had very detailed and disturbing gore and torture scenes, this Anime had more of quick blood splatters and death scenes. Also Gou & Sotsu went towards fantasy element much stronger. Prequels extreme strong points are psychology, horror and mystery. Whilst Gou & Sotsu excel at fantasy twists and character drama. Character drama mostly about Satoko and Rika as they are main focus here.
I do honestly remember a long time ago, when I first picked Higurashi series, one of my first 100 Anime I’ve watched when I started anime back in 2008’ish, was absolute disturbing horror element and constant feeling of unease and simply feeling depressed about characters.. Gou & Sotsu do manage it, to an extent. Yes, it has some gruesome scenes, but the unease element was much weaker whilst feeling of “being depressed” was great. Each arc I finished I just felt “………can we have anything nice for them? Poor poor, Rika…. Poor everyone” Shame that the details of deaths and torture sequences were that tame in comparison to prequels as that gave great shock element value to the prequels.
Story itself is essentially bunch of same stuff we saw in prequels, but different time loops/worlds. While story itself takes this time around a different approach. Gou is essentially foreshadowing to Sotsu. Sotsu approaches timeloop from another perspective whilst unveiling of every loop cause and the twist. Overall Gou I quite enjoyed. Sotsu I enjoyed as well, but a bit less. I’m not fond if time loop is shown again but from another loopers perspective. Find this type of mystery / twist a bit dull. But in the end of the day, they were both enjoyable, just not as god tier as prequels.
Now to more SPOILER part of review and mainly me ranting about characters and the story being presented in Gou & Sotsu. You know…. Rika probably has one of the worst fates ever when it comes to characters. Having to relive same period with absolutely hellish outcomes and dying in various manner on top of that is just absolute hell, especially when you have to witness death of close ones or insanity of close ones. But with Sotsu first part, I honestly somewhat hated Rika a bit, the whole dilemma of fulfilling your dream with your most loved/closest friend… being stuck for hundred of years in hell loops, trying to achieve “good ending” yet being screwed over… yeah. But why I hated her a bit? Mainly because once she achieved good ending and dragged her best friend Satoko to her dream, yet still by the end of the day she didn’t consider Satoko at all, eventually ignored and abandoned her… thus making Satoko feel extremely betrayed, hurt and lonely. And such thing makes a great plot element for Sotsu. Hurt Satoko becomes time looper herself. And obviously, her damaged state takes the turn towards worst and thus making Rika relive all hellish loops again. Because why not. Although end became battle shounen for whatever reason, I still loved how both embraced their ability, fight in every loop and make it so dramatic and enjoyable… and how the whole thing got wrapped up, did honestly make me tear up a little bit. By the end of the day it was sweet friendship story I guess. Here though, it was sweet for them, but I personally felt really lonely, jealous and depressed when it came to Satoko and Rika relationship….but that to that.
To wrap everything up. Prequels got their mystery unwrapped, explained, presented and given satisfying wrapping as finisher. Gou & Sotsu present new story twist, great nostalgia and fun times. (In a sense). It’s essentially “bonus round” for old Anime fans. I liked the idea of this Anime, I just wish they would kept up with the shock value the prequels had.
⬛Total Score 7/10