Official TL Announcements

ANIPLEX.EXE announces new game Hira Hira Hihiru – demo available & first impressions

Hira Hira Hihiru title image
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Written by Sirus

ANIPLEX.EXE, the visual novel division of the anime giant Aniplex, has announced that it will be publishing a new game, Hira Hira Hihiru. This is the second work from newcomer BA-KU, a studio whose first game, BLACK SHEEP TOWN, debuted last year.

The legendary Tomomi Teratani is the composer for the game. His past works include the OSTs for several visual novels, including Cartagra, Kara no Shoujo, and Collar x Malice.

Header image of a Taishou era town with the text HiraHiraHihiri overlayed


They're all perfectly normal human beings.
The world you are about to enter is one in which the dead come back to life.

It is a phenomena which has occurred since time immemorial. But these unlucky individuals do not return as the person they once were. They rise from the grave with depleted cognition, memory, and awareness. Their bodies, stripped of all regenerative abilities, slowly rot away.

In Japan, those with this affliction are known as "hihiru." Though once revered as holy beings, over time they have come to be shunned and reviled by society. Eventually, however, their condition was recognized as a medical issue, and given the name Aerodema.

Now, at the dawn of the Taishou Era, Dr. Katori Shuuhei is conducting field studies in an effort to improve living conditions and support systems for Aerodema patients. Given how slowly they have developed in Japan compared to other nations, it is an uphill battle he fights.

It is through the eyes of two men that this story will unfold: Chigusa Masamitsu, a young doctor assisting with these studies, and Tenma Takeo, a student to whom Aerodema has only been a distant problem until now. Watch how these men grapple with Aerodema as it twists itself into their lives...

Ren’ya Setoguchi, whose credits include CARNIVAL, SWAN SONG, KIRA☆KIRA, and the aforementioned BLACK SHEEP TOWN, is in charge of the scenario. He is known for his dark and sorrowful scripts, and Hira Hira Hihiru is likely to be within the same vein, given that the game’s mature content includes violence, mental symptoms, bodily injury, and self-harm.


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The game is scheduled for release later this year with English, Japanese, and Chinese text and full Japanese audio.

A demo is available now on Hira Hira Hihiru‘s official Steam page!

First Impressions

Hira Hira Hihiru‘s demo is three to four hours long and acquaints the player with the two protagonists. Their routes in the demo are two and three chapters long, respectively, although a few scenes end abruptly, meaning that it’s possible that they were cut short for the demo. It is unclear if the two routes will be intertwined, sequential, or playable independently, but each starts at chapter one.

The game’s visuals were done in a hand-painted style. Pale-colored backgrounds contrast well with the vivid and beautiful characters designed by Zennosuke. The grotesque images of the hihiru are supported by the colorful descriptions within the text, drawing the player into the game’s universe.

The script, written by Renya Setoguchi, is the demo’s greatest strength, and its English translation does it justice. Along with the well-written characters, players will learn more about the world of the game. It’s set within a fictional Taishou era (1912-1926): the dead return to life, afflicted physically and mentally with an illness called Aerodema. Though the condition is entirely fictional, it can be compared to real-world illnesses, including leprosy.

The demo offers a single choice in each route. Each choice only changes a few paragraphs, but it’s easy to imagine that there will be repercussions later.

The soundtrack, composed by MANYO, provides a relaxing atmosphere for reading the text. All the characters, including the protagonists, are fully voiced.

I will now discuss the scenario in more detail, so those wishing to avoid spoilers for the demo should play the game first.

Demo scenario discussion

The first route follows Masamitsu Chigusa, a young doctor whose patients are afflicted with the Aerodema sickness. We learn more about them, and about the medical science trying to dispel the superstitions surrounding Aerodema. We also get to know Dr. Chigusa. Because he’s unable to help or save everyone, he feels inadequate as a doctor. It’s probably right to call what he endures impostor syndrome, as he’s very competent and receives praise from the nurses. His unorthodox methods of getting closer to the patients earn him a warning from Dr. Shūhei Katori, a leading researcher on Aerodema and a lecturer at the school Masamitsu attends.

Throughout his journey, he’ll get to know Tsujikiku, a sharp-tongued female photographer who dresses in men’s clothing. The place of women in society appears to be a recurring theme in Hira Hira Hihiru since the game’s cast includes strong women determined to defy traditional gender roles and expectations.

The second route is written from the POV of Takeo Tenma, an eighteen-year-old student who moved to Tokyo just three years prior. The game frequently brings up the differences between the countryside and the big city. Comparisons are also made between Japan and the more advanced Western nations, especially regarding the differences in the countries’ medical technology and their ways of handling the hihiru. This is how Takeo’s arrival in Tokyo is described: he’s amazed by the electric trams. Takeo lives with the clever and cheerful Haruko Tsunemi, as well as her father, the prominent writer known as Chinryū-sensei. The strong-willed Haruko often outshines the more passive Takeo, but she may be an important emotional support for Takeo in the rest of the game.

The demo ends with the grotesque face of a hihiru displayed on the screen. It’s not the first one we see, but this one stares straight into our soul. This might foretell darker story twists within the full game, as the portion covered by the demo contains little dramatic tension despite the exploration of some heavy subjects.

About the author

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Writer in training & technical writer. I love everything horror and mystery.

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