Friday, July 4, 2014

Hou's ready to revisit Hinamizawa?

“Welcome back!” —Rena

Terrible pun in the title aside, I'm back, Rena's back, and so are you (we hope).

It's been a while since I last posted, but there's some great Higurashi news to share!
First are new details on the upcoming release Higurashi When They Cry Hou. As most of you probably know, 07th Expansion first released Higurashi back in 2002, before moving onto Umineko When They Cry, Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni and Rose Guns Days. Now, 12 years later, you will be able to get your hands on a new instalment in the series.
Higurashi Hou combines re-releases of the previous entries in the series with new stories. Here are the full contents:
  • Question arcs "Higurashi When They Cry (Onikakushi-hen, Watanagashi-hen, Tatarigoroshi-hen, Himatsubushi-hen)"
  • Answer arcs "Higurashi When They Cry Kai (Meakashi-hen, Tsumihoroboshi-hen, Minagoroshi-hen, Matsuribayashi-hen)"
  • Fan disc "Higurashi When They Cry Rei (Saikoroshi-hen, Hirukowashi-hen, Batsukoishi-hen)"
  • All the original extras and minigames
  • Sound novel version of Higurashi Outbreak, a story which was originally included with the first press limited edition version of the soundtrack to Twilight Frontier's Higurashi Daybreak.
  • A brand new story: Higurashi Outbreak ~Kamikanshi-hen~
  • Sound novel version of Hinamizawa Bus Stop, the original playscript prototype for Higurashi When They Cry
As you can see, that's a lot of content, which is evident by the fact that it comes on two DVDs!

Higurashi When They Cry Hou will be released on 17th August at Japan's Comiket Market. The official website is now up, and you can already preorder this release from AmiAmi. There are only limited quantities, so be quick!
(Note: Higurashi Hou is only available in Japanese. There are no plans to release a translation at this time, official or otherwise.)

Onto the second piece of news…

Yesterday (3rd July) marked the start of Anime Expo, a big… anime expo in Los Angeles. Attended by all the big players in the anime industry, I'm surely not the only one who considers it the E3 of anime, and by extension, visual novels!

Visual novel publishers JAST USA, MangaGamer and Sekai Project each held panels showcasing their upcoming releases and making exciting new announcements.

The one announcement that is relevant to this blog came from MangaGamer, and concerns their upcoming Steam release of Higurashi. A while back, it was announced that it will feature a completely new translation. Well, that's not all that's new!

MangaGamer announced that this Steam release will feature completely new sprites drawn by artist Kurosaki from visual novel studio Caramel-Box!

I'm sure a lot of you will agree with me when I say the artwork looks absolutely kaii~. Full details currently aren't confirmed, but those who wish to play Higurashi using the original sprites will also be catered for.

Higurashi will be released episodically on Steam, expected to start later this year.

That's all the 07th Expansion news. …For now, anyway. Spider Lily Translations will have some announcements to make in the coming months, so stay tuned to our blog.

Also, do check out the other great Anime Expo announcements from JAST USA, MangaGamer and Sekai Project. There are some good ones, including a Steam release of Key's kinetic novel Planetarian (I know, we can't believe it either!).

We would also like to draw your attention to Sekai Project's Kickstarter projects for Steam releases of two awesome visual novels: WORLD END ECONOMiCA -Complete- and fault milestone one -director's cut-.

I think that's all for today. Until next time~