Readers who have heard of the light novel “Higurashi: When They Cry” may know that the series has its fair share of “dark” elements: mysterious disappearances of characters, frequent murders, criminal acts motivated by mental insanity – you name it, they have it. The series itself actually began as a ‘sound novel’ game with its first release in 2002 on PC, with a manga version subsequently published in 2006 and 2007 in four volumes by Square Enix of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts fame. Next month, fans can expect to see a live-action television drama adaptation of the Higurashi series, which will see its debut on the 20th of May, 2016 across a duration of six one-hour episodes.
What is more likely to come as a surprise is that the cast of this horror-genre series on screen will include, amongst others, NGT48 idols. For the uninitiated, NGT48 is a Niigata-based sister group of the highly popular AKB48 girl group (hence the initials). In a preview of the cast from Japanese website Netlab, the role of the main protagonist of the series, Keiichi Maebara, will be taken up by Yū Inaba, while Ryūgū Rena, reputedly the most well-known character of the series, will be played by Minami Kato. The Sonozaki twin sisters Mion and Shion will both be played by Rika Nakai. Reina Seiji will be cast as Satoko Hōjō, Hinata Honma will play an unexpectedly significant character Rika Furude, Rie Kitahara will play Miyo Takano and Moeka Takakura will play an apparently ‘mysterious‘ character whose identity is initially not revealed.
The themes of “Higurashi: When They Cry” are a sharp contrast with the public image of the idol group and fans of the latter may find themselves in for a refreshingly new experience seeing their favourite NGT48 members taking on roles that are the complete opposite: ranging from deranged mikos (shrine maidens) to girls with yandere traits.