WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 of Higurashi: When They Cry - NEW now streaming on Crunchyroll.
14-years after the original Higurashi: When They Cry anime first aired, the series is back with a new studio and look, but the same classic story.
The episode opens with Keiichi assaulting two unseen people with a bat, feverishly clawing at his neck in between swings. It then cuts to Keiichi waking up in the morning, showing the rest of the cast’s morning routine in the process. As Keiichi eats breakfast, his mother comments on how he hasn’t missed a meal since their family moved to Hinamizawa. Keiichi then leaves to meet Rena, who waits for him on the road to school. The two then meet up with Mion down the road, who teases Keiichi about his recent absence, and the latter reveals that he’d been in the city attending a funeral.
Two days later, Keiichi meets up with Mion and Rena again, and the two take him around Hinamizawa, hoping to better acquaint him with his new home. During the tour, Mion mentions the upcoming Watanagashi Festival, an event meant to celebrate the end of winter. Soon the three decide to take a lunch break and head to Furude Shrine. As they pick apart Rena’s massive boxed lunch, they’re joined by Satoko and Rika. The group of friends enjoys a lively picnic, with Mion commenting that Keiichi is good at getting people roped into things.
On their way home, Rena asks Keiichi to go with her to the local junkyard. As Rena descends into the various piles of scrap looking for something cute, Keiichi watches from afar and notices someone taking pictures of him. When he confronts the photographer, he introduces himself as Jirou Tomitake, a freelance photographer who comes to Hinamizawa to take pictures of local wildlife. Tomitake notices Rena coming back from the junkyard and asks what the two of them are doing. When Keiichi jokes that she’s looking for a dismembered body, Tomitake mentions a prior incident involving a dismembered corpse and a missing arm.
This shocks Keiichi, though the photographer leaves before he can ask any follow-up questions. Rena joins Keiichi and reveals that she found a statue buried in the junk that she’d like to take home. While helping Rena, Keiichi asks her whether any notable events had occurred in the area, and Rena mentions that the government had tried to build a dam at one point. When Keiichi presses her for more information, Rena quickly and coldly tells him that she doesn’t know anything, revealing that she’s also a transfer student and has only been living in Hinamizawa for a year.
The next day, Mion announces that Keiichi will be joining their afterschool club with an inaugural scavenger hunt. Afterward, Rena excuses herself to the nurse's office, capping a day of strange behavior. Keiichi and Mion head home and Keiichi asks her about the dam construction project. Mion fills him in on the history of the event, but when Keiichi asks about a possible murder or death related to the protests surrounding it, Mion cuts him off and tells him nothing like that happened. Mion’s cold and abrupt response surprises Keiichi and she heads home before he can say anything more about it.
A couple of days later, Keiichi goes to the junkyard to help Rena recover the statue. Keiichi tries to dig the statue out of the junk, but there’s too much obstructing it. Exhausted, he lies on the ground and Rena offers to get him some cold tea, revealing that she lives nearby. Keiichi waits for Rena until nightfall and notices a stack of nearby magazines. He thinks back to Tomitake’s story and eventually finds a magazine that covered the murder incident in question. As Keiichi reads through the tabloid, Rena stands behind him wielding a nata sword with a cold look on her face. In a post-credits scene, Rika watches both Keiichi and Rena with dead, glowing red eyes.