Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: Geneon Entertainment (FUNimation Entertainment)
Running Time: 100 minutes
Rating: 16 and Up
Release Date: December 23, 2008
There will be blood.
Imagine a place that’s quiet, pretty and far from the major metropolises of the world. Imagine a place where you are forced to live through many scenarios where you or your friends are involved in gruesome murders that might even lead to your untimely (and bloody) demise only to wake up the next morning to experience new horrific scenarios. Welcome to When They Cry, a series that is not only clever but also downright irresistible.
In Episode 22 of Volume 5 of When They Cry, we were introduced to a new story arc known as the “Atonement” chapter. This chapter concentrated on the shy and withdrawn Rena who spends her time after school “treasure hunting” at the local dump on her own. At the end of the episode, she overhears a con artist couple only to recognize the voice of the female. You see, this woman is dating her newly single father and they plan to rip him off.
Volume 6 finds Rena looking deeper into the matter only to find that her father’s gold-digging girlfriend named Ritsuko really is costing him a lot of money. Determined to put a stop to it as well as protect her father, Rena leads the woman to the dump where she hangs out to confront her. As expected, the confrontation turns ugly really quickly and the older Ritsuko even attack the quiet young girl. In the heat of the moment, the ugly events turn even uglier when Rena looses control and takes her father’s girlfriend out of the picture … for good.
When she comes home, however, she finds that Rena is in time to see Rina’s yakuza boyfriend beating up her father. Once again, the young girl leads the thug to her favorite hideout where the girl does the unspeakable yet again. When Rena’s school friends Keiichi, Mion, Satoko and Rika see that the girl has become even more withdrawn, they head to the dump only to find their young friend disposing of human remains. Even in the face of such a brutal act, Rena’s friends prove their loyalty to her and their friendship by helping Rena by helping her transport the remains to a better location.
Like past episodes, the next episode take a drastically new turn. Two bodies are discovered and the local police quickly identify the corpses. One of the bodies just so happens to belong to Miss Takano so – of course – the police shift their investigation to the school. Once again, the Cotton Festival plays a role in another death so when the police come to question each student Rena thinks it might have had something to do with the two people she killed. Instead, the line of questioning brings to mind a revelation Takano brought up about the town’s history and the so-called curse.
Suddenly, paranoia sets in and Rena tells her friends that she’s being followed and that Miss Takano left her with a scrapbook filled with wild theories that might link the town’s respected families with an alien invasion that comes in the form of a virus born in the river. She’s so convinced that she tells the chief investigator everything but when it’s not taken seriously it is Rena that takes drastic measures. You see, Rena takes her whole school hostage with a gasoline bomb.
Interestingly enough, it is Keiichi that comes to realize that some of these events are starting to feel familiar to him. He even recalls a moment from a past chapter, which is a first for the series and while his past might not be squeaky clean it is Keiichi that attempts to save Rena and keeping things from turning into a real bloodbath. The ending of Episode 26 is truly one of the redefining moment in this chapter as well as this series.
Rarely does a horror/suspense anime bring a smile to my face but the Atonement chapter of When They Cry did just that for the very reasons that make this such a compulsively watch worthy series. You see, the series is brilliant at setting up the events that would eventually careen sharply out off control into dark territory that will have you glued to the screen. Volume 6 of When They Cry might be a new chapter but it still one seriously twisted and fun series that does the horror genre justice.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The “Atonement” chapter takes a turn for the more bizarre and it’s great to see a character wake up to realize something is so wrong. Rena’s tale is a dark one and watching the poor girl go from shy to really-out-of-her-mind paranoid is what makes this chapter of When They Cry such a rare gem.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The video quality is as good as past episodes and yes the blood really flies in this one.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
Once again, the English dub voices prove to be excellent as is the Japanese voice talent. It’s a blast to hear many of the characters sound super sweet before they get really psychotic.
Previews for new Geneon Entertainment releases are all you can expect from the extras. I do love the reversible second covers but the original is genuinely and appropriately creepy.
Volume 6 of When They Cry is utterly brilliant and delightfully demented. In essence, horror this good is rarely smart or extreme but this series nails it rather well in the space of four episodes. Yes, it’s bloody and oftentimes confusing but what we have here is a series you seriously do not want to miss.