I rewatched Higurashi a couple weeks ago, marathoning both the original and the sequel, and the one thing that was struck by (and have always been impressed by) is how much I cared for each one of the characters. My heart broke for each one of them as they succumbed to the madness during the question arcs. This made the answer arcs and the second season that much more powerful. I felt like I was part of the gang. And I rooted for Rika and friends to break their treacherous fate harder than I’ve rooted for any characters to do anything ever.