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I haven't watched Higurashi and am a bit hesitant to do so after seeing some clips of it and I haven't gotten around to watching Umineko but I've been wondering: apart from the obvious in how they have the alias "When They Cry #", how are Higurashi and Umineko related?

VNDB does not list any of the 4 visual novels as sharing any characters with each other than Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai and Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru sharing characters from the unofficial Minagoroshi-hen Bad End ~Rika-hen~.

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    Far as I know, there're a character in Umineko named Furudo Erika which I find very similar to one of the main characters of Higurashi Furude Rika. I wouldn't recommend Higurashi if you're afraid of uncensored gore. Umineko's manga is very interesting but it still has some gore.
    – user15462
    Jul 5, 2015 at 4:09

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Higurashi and Umineko take place in the same story universe as far as I'm aware, but there is no character overlap. As for Umineko, there is an entirely new cast of characters. That said, events in Umineko may shed some light on the workings of the Higurashi / Umineko universe, and it references Higurashi quite a bit.

While it is not strictly necessary, I think you would get more out of Umineko if you watched Higurashi first, even though the cast and story are entirely different. Also, if you can manage, I'd recommend reading the Visual Novels for Umineko instead of watching the anime. The anime is poorly done and ends prematurely, leaving you with far too many questions unanswered and no real resolution.

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  • I think the keyword is metaverse not universe.
    – BCLC
    Mar 25 at 3:41
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I don't think Umineko takes place in the same universe. Higurashi is referenced as a novel during the first arc. Screenshot

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With the new Higurashi series arcs (Gou and Sotsu) there appear to be more connections between the two- without too many spoilers, some of the witches in Umineko may be versions of Higurashi characters.

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