Episodes from the first season open directly with a prologue scene which is then followed by the opening titles with the music "Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni" sung by Eiko Shimamiya. Episodes then end directly into the end titles with the music "Why, or why not" performed by Katakiri Rekka which resolves into a post-end title which has flashes of streaming words with a voice over from Rika in her Adult Voice. They end with a grainy scene from the next episode with Rika asking, "Can you believe it?"
PrologueWhite words and numbers type on a black background (昭和58年 6月・June 1983) punctuated with violent sounds of some hard object striking against something.This transitions to a shadow of a figure cast on the wall of a room repeatedly slamming down a bat as what appears to be blood spatters on the walls and floor. The figure is a boy with a crazed look on his face, covered with blood splatter, and striking something on the floor with a metal bat. There is a flash of what appears to be a girl's hand on the floor with a blood-splattered white cap. The boy finally stops and drops his bat as the scene pulls away to reveal the bodies of two girls then focuses on his face as the episode title card appears.
First HalfKeiichi Maebara awakens in his room, sighs, then quickly devours his mother's breakfast. Before he can run out, she reminds him to thank Rena for the pickles. As he walks alone to school, Keiichi muses that he has been in Hinamizawa for a month, and for the first time he can breath clean air and a happy Rena greets him. When he gently teases her about her always arriving early to meet him by implying if she was ever late he would ditch her, she protests that she will always wait for him. Inwardly, he notes that he did not expect her of all people to blush, and she has a number of strange things about her.
Mion meets them at the water wheel and rebukes them for being late. She teases him for being absent for two day; he protests he went to a funeral. As he walks, Keiichi notes that as an upperclasswoman, Mion asks as a leader but has a very carefree attitude.At school, Keiichi continues his inward monologue. He describes Hinamizawa as a small village that has only one class for all of the about fifteen children mixed together. He scans the class noting it has only one teacher, who is working with two young children Satoko Hōjō, and Rika Furude. Since she is often busy teaching the younger children, Keiichi often helps Rena and Mion.After he and Mion tease one another over him teaching an older student and Keiichi conceded he does not know much about Hinamizawa, Rena invites them to a tour of the village the following day and to make them boxed lunches. When Keiichi teases Mion that he might not be "free" Rena becomes very sad, and Keiichi quickly agrees to go which only causes Mion to protest over the way he treats them differently. Rena and Mion take him up the steps of the Furude Shrine. Mion announces that during the school break, they will have a festival there. Keiichi has little interest, but he brightens over the considerable spread Rena prepared. Satoko and Rika appear suddenly. As Keiichi inwardly describes them, Satoko appears to hide behind Rika. Satoko appears distrustful and asks what is happening. Keiichi starts to explain, but Satoko literally knocks him aside. She demands to know why they have spread their blanket on someone's yard. When Keiichi protests that the shrine is public, Rika declares they should make it public. While Keiichi dotes on Rika and invites her to join, a sly chibi Satoko declares she will also join them as she stares with a challenging smile at Keiichi. Chibi Keiichi declares they have neither room nor enough food for her. While the two "fight" Rena declares she made enough for all of them. This does not prevent Keiichi and Satoko fighting for every piece of food the other goes for. After receiving a vicious elbow, Keiichi protests only to have Satoko quash it.
In the twilight, as they pass the water wheel, Mion suggests that they "call it a day" and leaves Keiichi with Rena. When Rena asks him if he had fun, Keiichi replies that he did, and he wishes they could do something else. Sheepishly, Rena asks if they can stop by someplace. Laughing, she takes him to the town dump. Over his protests, she declares it a "mountain of treasure." She eagerly prances off to a new pile as Keiichi chases after her. After he falls, Rena chirps that she will only be a few moments. As Keiichi relaxes to the sound of the Higurashi, a man suddenly appears and takes his picture. The man apologizes for startling him and introduces himself as Tomitake Jirō, a freelance photographer. Rena calls to him declaring that she is almost done. When Jirō asks what Rena is doing in the dump, Keiichi jokes that she may be checking a corpse she dismembered. Jirō does not laugh; he looks shocked and concerned. He then remarks that "it was a horrible crime," and one of the arms has yet to be recovered.
Keiichi stands stunned at this response. A laughing Rena breaks the tension. Jirō bids farewell, but Keiichi remains stunned. Rena seems excited that Keiichi waited for her, only to see Jirō leaving. Keiichi dismisses her concern by asking what she found. She bubbles that she found a "Kenta doll." Keiichi imagination of it, When They Cry Wiki stresses is not, in any way, at all, for copyright reasons, based on chain popular in Japan during Christmas. Keiichi softens before Rena's "cute mode," and offers to help her recover it. An apologetic Rena confesses that it will take some time, but Keiichi vows to help her the next day as payment for her lunch.
While overcome by her "cute mode, Keiichi seriously asks her if something happened in the past. Rena mentions that she heard a dam was being built. When he asks if an accident happened, Rena suddenly becomes very serious and declares that she does not know. She then smiles and reveals that she live elsewhere during that time. As the cries of the higurashi swell, she restates that she does not know anything about that time.
Second HalfThe class ends and the younger children happily leave. Meanwhile, in class, Keiichi sits with Satoko, Rika, Rena, and Mion who stands and addresses them. She dramatically announces the debate on whether or not Keiichi can join their club. They vote him in despite the fact that he has no idea what it is, and he never agreed to join. Undaunted, Mion continues with her speech, which Rika interrupts to explain they play games after school. After Mion and Satoko explain the two rules, Mion looks through her locker of games and declares that "complex games" would put Keiichi at a disadvantage. She decides on Old Maid. Keiichi considers this easy. Mion then announces a "punishment game" where the first place can order the last place. Keiichi sees that the cards are worn and then learns that the rest have memorizes these marks such that they know every card. When he protests, evil chibi Satoko reminds him of the second rule. Rena assures him that he will quickly learn the really distinct cards. Despite his courage, Keiichi loses spectacularly. Though doomed, having not won a single game, in the final game, Keiichi manages to fool Mion by folding a corner of a card to it will look like another. Keiichi enjoys a brief triumph. Unfortunately, as Satoko gleefully explains, he is too far behind to avoid his fate. Keiichi happily accepts his loss since he did finally beat Mion. For her part, an evil chibi Mion, who declares she will go easy on him since it is his first game, announces his punishment: a marker to his face. The rest of them hold him firm as Mion slowly and gleefully approaches. As he screams, somewhere a single flower falls from its stem.
Walking home, Mion remarks that Rena's "Kenta doll" explains why she ran off immediately after the end of the games. Keiichi, his face marked like a comic cat, finds Rena thinking it cute means she is "pretty weird." Mion explains that once Rena finds something "cute," "she becomes oblivious to everything else." Keiichi tries to ask her about what happened at the dam construction site. Mion explains that government officials wanted to evict them all to build a dam and everyone resisted. She claims that through petitions to the government the village overturned the plan. Not totally convinced, Keiichi asks if any violent crimes happened. Mion becomes quiet, stops, then claims that none happened. While Keiichi seems unconvinced, Mion happily takes her leave and reminds him to leave the markings on his face until he reaches home.
At the dump, Rena struggles to free her treasure. Keiichi arrives to help her as he promised. Inspecting the situation, Keiichi surmises that they may need an axe or saw to free "Kenta." As Rena happily runs off, Keiichi finds stacks of magazines. One of them describes the death and dismemberment of the Construction Manager. He had been beaten with hatchets and pickaxes then divided the corpse into three parts. One of the murders remains free. Keiichi remembers the denials of Rena and Mion. The voice of Keiichi suggests that the cries of the higurashi probably tried to warn him of what would come as Rena slowly and calmly walks with an axe.
Over the voice of the preview, Rika in her Adult Voice asks:
- "Can you believe in the things you see? Can you believe in living? Can you believe in me?"
after announcing the title of the next episode, she asks:
- "Can you believe it?"
In order of appearance
- Keiichi Maebara
- Maebara Aiko
- Rena Ryūgū
- Mion Sonozaki
- Chie Rumiko
- Satoko Hōjō
- Rika Furude
- Tomitake Jirō
Referbacks and Forwards
As a first episode which adapts the first sound novel, the "referbacks" reveal information the viewer cannot know which is also not fully explained. There are also many references to later events and later arcs. Without spoiling the series, a few:
- Keiichi previously lived in a place with a lower air quality.
- Rena's behavior towards Keiichi.
- Mion's protest that Keiichi is ignoring a request from "a girl."
- Satoko's clinging to Rika and seeming mistrust.
- Satoko and Keiichi appear to have a rivalry.
- Their Club has "no rules."
- Rena and the dump . . . and things she declares "cute."
- Jirō and photography.
- Keiichi's joke about Rena.
- A defeated Keiichi calls the girls "demons" (鬼・oni).
- Mion darkly claims that "everyone" resisted the dam construction and no violence occurred.
- Keiichi recommend Rena get an axe or saw.
- 昭和58年 6月: is "Shōwa 58 nen 6 gatsu" or "the sixth month of the fifty-eighth year of Shōwa."
- Mion's Locker of Games: Aside from board games, she has a mask, sets of handcuffs, a crochet mallet, two stuffed frogs, a stuffed bird, a bunch of hand-fashioned objects with fuses, a katana, whip, and a Rubix's Cube.
- The voice over the preview is Rika's, using her adult voice, which is the same as Frederica Bernkastel's.
- More traditional dating of years use the reign year of the emperor. Shōwa is the reign-name of Hirohito.
- "Kenta "
- Curse of "KCF"
- Punishment Game (罰ゲーム・batsu gēmu)
- The music played when the girls gleefully explain why the use of marked cards is legal is an homage to the infamous Psycho theme.
- In too many anime a flower falling off its stem in a vase symbolizes the loss of virginity.
- Rena blushes as Keiichi teases her.
- 11:40: Rena's first "I want to take it home!"
- The Rules of The Club:
The First Rule of The Club: You Don't Talk about The Club!
- Rule One: Strive only for first!
- Rule Two: To achieve that put forth all possible effort!
- "I've known her less than a month, but I know her name isn't the only weird thing about her." - Keiichi on Rena
- "What's with that attitude? A girl's asking you out!" - Mion
- "Oh, we had rules?" - Satoko
- "I-it's not garbage! To me, it's a mountain of treasure!" - Rena
- "Are all country girls this tough?" - Keiichi
- "Maybe she's checking out an old corpse she chopped up." - Keiichi
- "Hey, Rena, did something happen here in the past?" - Keiichi
- "Don't tell me you all know which card is which from the scratches." - Keiichi
- "It doesn't matter how you shuffle them, I can still tell!" - Satoko
- "In retrospect, those noisy cicadas at that moment were probably trying to warn me of all the events to come." - Keiichi