Ciconia When They Cry’s opening animation reveals lookalikes to Higurashi’s Takano, Tomitake and Okonogi make an appearance in the story.
07th Expansion revealed the opening animation sequence of Ciconia When They Cry, the next installment in the When They Cry series. Like with every visual novel, every doujin game, and every low budget Japanese game ever, it’s made up of no real animation besides sliding portraits of the various characters. However, the song sung by Maria Sawada and overall rhythm makes it unbelievably cool if you’re used to such opening animation sequences.
When They Cry author Ryukishi 07th already confirmed Ciconia is completely different than his works so far. Unlike Higurashi and Umineko, the previous installments of the When They Cry Series, Ciconia most notably has a much bigger focus on sci-fi rather than horror. It doesn’t take place in a confined space, and it doesn’t take place in the eighties either. Ciconia is set in a post World War 3 universe, whose nuclear winter was avoided thanks to a new technology called the Gauntlet, which allows its wielder to fly like a fighter jet, deploy a battleship’s firing power, and repel attacks like a tank.
The protagonists of Ciconia are a group of Gauntlet Knights trying to prevent World War 4, a hard task when they’re treated like pawns in the international games played by those pulling the strings. The story depicts whether these characters will end up killing each other or not and if they can prevent the tragedy of war despite being mere pawns.
Despite its differences, Ciconia will definitely be linked to Higurashi and Umineko, as the opening sequence reveals lookalike characters to Miyo Takano, Jiro Tomitake, and Tetsuro Okonogi from Higurashi. It is far from the first time Ryukishi 07th reuses certain characters from Higurashi in other works, and if you know the story elements introduced in Umineko, it’s definitely not the last time either. Even works unlinked storywise to the When They Cry series, such as Rose Guns Days, also include lookalike characters as Ryukishi 07th once explained he likes to reuse characters without story reasons, as if they’re actors playing a role.
It’s also worth noting Ciconia‘s opening animation was revealed by 07th Expansion right when Japanese clocks hit July 15th midnight. July 15th is the birthday of Umineko‘s protagonist Battler Ushiromiya, so fans like myself are expecting him to be making an appearance too.
Ciconia When They Cry, or Ciconia ga Naku Koro ni, to cite its Japanese name, was fully revealed in November 2018 with a first trailer. Ciconia was supposed to release next Comiket, C96, in August, but was delayed to late September. When announcing the delay, Ryukishi 07th shared new comments about Ciconia on Twitter and explained that 07th Expansion needs a bit more time to complete the game.
Ciconia When They Cry will release on PC in Japan this September and will simultaneously receive an English release by MangaGamer. Ciconia‘s English localization is handled by The Witch Hunt, the same group which translated the Umineko games in the past.