Our boss at Yen Press offered us the title...um...about five years ago, maybe? Okay, we just checked and it was more like four and a half years ago. We had seen the anime, because we watched it when we were pirates. Back then, we made sure to watch at least one episode of everything that was available from our favorite provider, and Higurashi was one of them. Despite starting out with suggestions of brutal violence (it's not actually that gory; more on that later), the fact that the main character was played by our favorite voice actor (Soichiro Hoshi) kept us watching, along with the fact that after that first scene, everything was so cute and happy, with only a slight tinge of creepiness. We were like, "What is this?", and we kept watching.
We never thought of ourselves of horror fans before, and in fact we always stayed away from it. Actually Karin Suzuragi's afterword says the same thing--she always hated horror, but she was addicted to Higurashi and now she thinks she's built up an immunity. It may or may not help that it seems like Ryukishi07 was very careful to keep up the extreme contrast between the everyday and super scary, which is kind of awesome, because one, we weren't constantly covering our eyes and worried about what would happen next, and two, it made for less risk of desensitization...wait, I think that might contradict what I said about building up horror immunity. I think it's more like...Athena says it's like the part in the Mummy ride that goes reallyreallyfast!. Now we know it's coming, we can handle it better, but we still think the ride has a bad attitude.
Anyway, the point is, when we were offered the assignment of translating the Higurashi manga, we really wanted it, because we liked the story and the characters, but we were afraid to take it, because it does get really scary sometimes. I think we prayed about it, but we didn't get any strong impressions not to accept the assignment, so we went ahead and took it. And we were glad we did, because it was nice to get the money, and on top of that, Higurashi is a really fast translation (usually). And of course we like the series, too.
As we kept going through all the arcs, we really liked all the main themes of the series. Sure there's the, "Wooooo, scaaaaaaryyyy!" thing, but there are a lot of really important messages about understanding, communication, accepting responsibility, and forgiveness. We have to wonder if the story was at all influenced by The Sea and Poison... But anyway, I think it's always important to be reminded that we never know all the details, so it's important not to judge a person as evil. The phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin" is something I think about a lot, and I think it's really hard to separate the two sometimes, but Higurashi does a really good job illustrating the difference, by repeating the story so many times. You see Keiichi and Shion and Rena go crazy, and they're really scary, but you also see the arcs when they stay sane the whole time, and you can't help liking them.
Today I'm thankful for having the wonderful opportunity to translate Higurashi, getting to color the tablecloths at our ward Thanksgiving dinner last night, themed crayon boxes, the really yummy rolls, and having plans to order pizza tonight.