Higurashi When They Cry (ひぐらしのなく頃に Higurashi no Naku Koro ni?, lit. When the Cicadas Cry), known simply as When They Cry for the North American release of the anime adaptation, is a Japanese murder mystery dōjin soft sound novel series produced by 07th Expansion. The games are built on the NScripter game engine and are playable on the Windows operating system. The first game in the series, Onikakushi-hen, was released on August 10, 2002, and the eighth and final game in the original PC series, Matsuribayashi-hen, was released on August 13, 2006. While the first four games carried the overall title Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, the next four games were produced under the title Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai. A bonus fan disc called Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei was released on December 31, 2006. In addition to the original series, new story arcs were created in manga form and in video games for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS in order to expand upon the story. The original eight PC releases were released in English by MangaGamer with the first four games on December 15, 2009, followed by the last four being released monthly starting with Meakashi-hen on February 28, 2010. The series is focused on a group of young friends and the strange events that occur in the rural village Hinamizawa where they reside.
Two sets of drama CDs were produced, one by Wayuta and the other by Frontier Works. Novelizations of the game series were released by Kodansha Box between August 2007 and March 2009. A manga series adapted from the games began with eight different manga artists working separately on one to three of the multiple story arcs, and is published by Square Enix and Kadokawa Shoten. The manga was licensed for release in English in North America by Yen Press under the title Higurashi When They Cry and the first volume was released in November 2008. Following the manga's release in Japan, two TV anime series were produced by Studio Deen in 2006 and 2007; a third anime adaptation was released as an original video animation series in 2009. The first anime series was licensed by Geneon Entertainment in English, but the license expired in 2011. A live action film adaptation of the series, directed by Ataru Oikawa, premiered in Japanese theaters in May 2008, with a sequel released in May 2009.