Ciconia When They Cry (キコニアのなく頃に Ciconia no Naku Koro ni, lit. When the Storks Cry), officially stylized Ciconia no Naku Koro ni, is a Japanese visual novel series produced by 07th Expansion. It is the fifth entry in the overarching When They Cry series, after the Higurashi When They Cry (WTC 1-2) and Umineko When They Cry (WTC 3-4) series.
100 years after the world was nearly destroyed during World War III...
Cutting-edge technology saved the planet from a nuclear winter, allowing its population to reach the tens of billions once more.
This eventually gave rise to a new ultimate military technology, the Gauntlet.
People who wore these on their left arms were called Gauntlet Knights, and without carrying any additional equipment, they could use this unrivaled power to fly like fighter planes, fight like aircraft carriers and battleships, and repel all sorts of attacks like tanks.
Children all over the world were fascinated by this new kind of hero.
However, because Gauntlets could only be used by those who had particular talents and underwent special training from a very young age, not even 150,000 people from across the world could control them, even if you counted preschoolers. And the number of people who actually earned the title of Gauntlet Knight was even smaller.
In other words, it was becoming an era where all existing military forces would be obsolete, and where the military might of the world would be measured by the small number of boys and girls who could use Gauntlets...
After competing against each other in the International Battle Standard Festival, a group of Gauntlet Knights from all over the world became fast friends, swearing to support the walls of peace from both sides and prevent another World War from ever occurring. However, World War IV was steadily approaching, like a line of falling dominos...
The young are supposed to be the main characters in their own eras.
But in reality, they're nothing but game pieces lined up on the board of those who are crafty and more experienced.
Must these boys and girls be forced to kill each other as pieces?
Who are the pieces, and who are the players? And who does the players' bidding?
What victory conditions does each person have? Is it peace? War? Annihilation?
Is the foretold tragedy a scheme or a delusion, the future or reality?
There is no need to resist this tragedy.
The job of a game piece is to dance about within the tragedy's grasp.
What are the rules of the game, you ask? How hard is it? That's for us to decide, so it's none of your concern.
All you people need to do is take pieces and get taken yourselves, entertaining us with the range of your emotions.
Are you listening? You don't want to misunderstand your position.
You aren't my opponent. You're merely a piece that exists for my amusement.
In this next game, I won't give you the privilege of being a player!
Concept and Development
Ryukishi07 describes Ciconia no Naku Koro ni as an attempt to return to his roots in writing When They Cry titles, partly as a response to fan demand. According to him, the essence of the overarching When They Cry series is the idea of pieces moving around a gameboard according to unknown but defined rules, and with their own winning conditions. The player's role is thus to observe the actions of those pieces and figure out the rules of the gameboard. Unlike for Higurashi and Umineko, which urged the reader to solve the mystery, Ciconia was designed as a game that could be either enjoyed as it is or speculated on similarly to previous entries. He describes this concept as "Evangelion genre", inspired by the classic anime Neon Genesis Evangelion.
The story of Ciconia was designed with today's youth in mind, with Ryukishi07 writing it as a message to children who feel isolated and forgotten in present day society. This was also the reason for the choice of title "For You, the Replaceable Ones" for Phase 1. He also hoped that his work would allow older people to better understand the young. Ryukishi07 also wanted to show gratitude to the fans he had met from all over the world, and reflected this by writing Ciconia with an international cast.
Ciconia was also planned from the start to be only four arcs in total, half the number of Higurashi and Umineko. This was done partly in order to reduce the time span of the story's release, making it easier for readers to not lose track of the information while waiting. As such, information from the Question Arcs portion was condensed, resulting in content that would normally be in the third or fourth arc being placed in Phase 1.
Unlike Higurashi and Umineko, which had many portions of the story created as he went along, the entire scenario of Ciconia was planned out in great detail from the beginning. The planning process for the story took three years.
The first teaser for Ciconia was released on April 1, 2017 with an update of the 07th Expansion website front page showing a monochromatic image of the Dubai skyline and feathers. Several details about the new release were also given to fans at the 07th Party event, including the fact that it would be a global open world story, as opposed to the closed circle settings of previous When They Cry entries.
On July 15, 2018, the 07th Expansion Twitter page announced the release of "●● no Naku Koro ni" for Winter. This was followed on August 1 by an announcement that Witch Hunt, the team that translated Umineko When They Cry and Rose Guns Days, will be working with Ryukishi07 to translate the new project. On October 3 it was announced that the release date would be pushed back to Summer 2019.
On November 29, 2018, a promotional video was released, showcasing the title of the series for the first time, and teasing the protagonist Miyao, the squad names and character designs, and snippets from Okonogi's conversation in the prologue. MangaGamer announced an official worldwide English release of the series on Steam in collaboration with Witch Hunt at Sakuracon 2019 (April 19), with the release date coinciding with the Japanese release at Comiket 96. The opening video of the series was released on July 15. The release of Ciconia was delayed to the end of September 2019, and a definite release date was later announced to be October 4, 2019.
A demo of the story, containing the prologue and a section of Phase 1 was released on September 4, 2019 to test the engine, with the English version released on the Witch Hunt website. The official website was also simultaneously updated with information on the factions and characters. A second demo, containing two additional data fragments (Ciconia's version of the TIPS system), was released on September 27.
Phase 1 of the story was released worldwide on October 4, 2019, and was available as a Japanese only physical version or a bilingual digital version on MangaGamer and Steam. A patch was later released on November 10 that fixed several text and image issues.
Phase 2 was originally slated for release in May 2020, but was later delayed to an unspecified date in 2020. On the 07th Party stream on November 11 it was announced to be delayed indefinitely due to concerns over the subject matter and the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are four story arcs in Ciconia no Naku Koro ni. Each of the story arcs is termed a "Phase".
Phase 1 introduces Ciconia's post-World War 3 (A3W) society, the gauntlet knights, and other principal characters of the story. The central conflict revolves around the gauntlet knights' attempts to prevent the outbreak of World War 4, which various organizations are secretly trying to incite.
- Produced by: 07th Expansion
- Character Design and Scenario: Ryukishi07
- Director: Nakaoboushi
- Coloring and Finish: Remotaro
- Music: dai, Gin Kreuz, M.Zakky, pre-holder, xaki (Pomexgranate.), U2 Akiyama, Luck Ganriki
- Movie: yokota
- Translation: The Witch Hunt
- Several important dates (July 15, October 4, November 29) in the release history of Ciconia seem to have been chosen due to their significance in the previous When They Cry entry Umineko When They Cry.
- The word "Ciconia" in the title refers to a particular genus of storks, keeping with the tradition that the animals referred to in When They Cry titles are a more specific form of their more well known common names (cicadas, seagulls, storks).
- Ryukishi07 originally planned for Ciconia to have a different title. He changed the original title as he believed it would be too strong of a hint. The original title is currently unknown, but Ryukishi07 described it as having a very strong image, and believed that once the story was finished, readers would be able to accept that name.
- One of Ryukish07's candidates for the story's title was "kounotori" (no Naku Koro ni), the Japanese name for the Oriental stork. However, he felt that the title would sound like that of a sub-replacement fertility counterplan. He then asked someone at an overseas convention if they had an English translation of "kounotori" that would sound cool, and was given the word "Ciconia", the scientific name for the genus. Speaking with the musician Gin Kreuz, Ryukishi07 then decided to go with the foreign pronunciation "ki" instead of the Japanese "chi" for the first syllable of the word when deciding the official katakana in the title.
- "Story" on the Ciconia official website https://www.07th-expansion.net/cico/story.html
- Famitsu Special Interview 10/24/2019
- Umineko Saku and Ciconia Commemoration Broadcast
- "When They Cry 5 Teaser Page Published, First Details Mentioned" on Rokkenjima.org https://rokkenjima.org/when-they-cry-5-teaser-page-published/
- Official 07th Expansion Twitter account https://twitter.com/07th_official/status/1018148111254896642
- Klashikari's Twitter account (official translation team member) https://twitter.com/Klashikari/status/1047648706269536256
- "Sakuracon 2019 Announcement: Ciconia When They Cry!" on the MangaGamer blog http://blog.mangagamer.org/2019/04/19/sakuracon-2019-announcement-ciconia-when-they-cry/
- Official 07th Expansion Twitter account https://twitter.com/07th_official/status/1147686997877637120/
- Official 07th Expansion Twitter account https://twitter.com/07th_official/status/1157534760979222529
- Official Witch Hunt Twitter account https://twitter.com/witchhunt_ot/status/1169175895845851137
- Official Witch Hunt Twitter account https://twitter.com/witchhunt_ot/status/1177508391687639041
- Official 07th Expansion Twitter Account https://twitter.com/07th_official/status/1179662254867771392
- Official MangaGamer Twitter Account https://twitter.com/MangaGamer/status/1179924694813859841
- "11/10/2019 Update" on Ciconia's Steam Page https://steamcommunity.com/ogg/1162560/announcements/detail/1593639552736139370
- Official 07th Expansion Twitter Account https://twitter.com/07th_official/status/1212207137746587649
- Pomeg Radio 07th Party 7 Commemorative Broadcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f08QuO_r9tw
- Official 07th Expansion Twitter account https://twitter.com/07th_official/status/1154790792252125184