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Natsumi Kimiyoshi is woken up by her mom Haruko and rushes to get ready for school. Natsumi’s dad Touji figures that she was watching movies late last night again, and Haruko says he should also go to bed earlier, as after all he gave a speech at the parent’s association that sleep deprivation is a cause for growth deficiency. Touji chuckles in response, saying that compared to Okinomiya, their town is like a city. Natsumi’s grandma Aki offers to do Natsumi’s hair when she has trouble with it, and as they work Aki asks Natsumi if there’s a boy she likes, much to Natsumi’s embarrassment. Aki mentions that Natsumi always dressed up her hair back in Okinomiya and soon finishes, with Natsumi preparing to leave. Aki stops her, saying that she has to worship Oyashiro-sama first. Natsumi doesn’t want to as she’ll be late, and Aki says they must pray to him for good blessings and gestures towards an altar.
Natsumi already knows how important Oyashiro-sama is, being the guardian deity of Aki’s hometown of Hinamizawa, but he doesn’t seem to be known at all around their new town; Aki is the only one who actively worships him in Natsumi’s house. Natsumi asks if she could get a VCR if she prays to him for ten consecutive days, and Aki says not to visit Oyashiro-sama with wicked intentions or else he’ll curse them; Natsumi is then yelled at to get going, and she leaves for school.
As Natsumi meets up with her friends Chisato Saeki and Tamako Makimura, the history of Hinamizawa is recounted: Demons from hell came to Earth and coexisted with humans, something made possible through Oyashiro-sama’s power. Oyashiro-sama gave the demons a human form, and soon half-human-half-demon hybrids were born, receiving supernatural powers and being called mountain hermits. Villagers living at the base of the mountain revered them, and Oyashiro-sama’s descendants contained demon blood and were still indebted to him to the present day. Class ends, and Natsumi thinks about how if Aki was born and raised in Hinamizawa, then her own family may have demon’s blood too. Chisato interrupts her spacing out and says to get changed for gym class. Tamako says they’re supposed to gather at the field, and Chisato plays around with Natsumi before Akira Toudou enters the room and demands that Chisato return his textbook. Akira gets his book back and leaves, with Natsumi wistfully looking at him while muttering about a matchmaking god. Natsumi then mentions that Akira has always been good at drawing, and was Chisato and Tamako’s childhood friend. Tamako says that Akira even entered their school through an art scholarship.
The three friends head to gym class for endurance running, and Natsumi is left to clean up at the very end. Natsumi carries some heavy stuff and struggles to open a storehouse door, wishing that she had some of that demon power. She then falls over, and Akira catches her. After helping her clean, Akira asks Natsumi if she likes movies and then asks if there’s someone she likes, and then says that he likes her. He wants to know if Natsumi feels the same way but will hear her answer later, soon leaving. An embarrassed Natsumi calls back out to him, saying that she likes movies with happy endings. Akira smiles back at her, and Natsumi heads home feeling glad she moved from Okinomiya.
She enters the living room to see Aki and her parents huddled around the TV, where the news is reporting that the entire population of Hinamizawa has suddenly died in a gas eruption overnight, alongside everyone in the surrounding areas. Haruko reminds Natsumi that they had many relatives living there, going to try and call them as Aki prays while holding prayer beads. Natsumi tells Aki that they were lucky to have moved from the village, and Aki suddenly says that this is Oyashiro-sama’s curse; the news says that Hinamizawa’s legends believed that Oyashiro-sama’s curse took the form of miasma that would annihilate the village. Natsumi asks if Oyashiro-sama was supposed to be a matchmaking god, and Aki says he was merciful but was very strict with religious beliefs. The news says that many legends like that were based on natural disasters and Natsumi says they must be correct, and Aki angrily says this is Oyashiro-sama’s curse and drags Natsumi off to the altar. She grabs Natsumi’s arm and demands that she pray with her, afraid that she may be cursed too, and Natsumi wrests her arm away and looks at the resulting hand mark. Aki bows to the ground while praying profusely to Oyashiro-sama.
At dinner, the family discusses their move from Okinomiya. They had no choice, as Touji was promoted and transferred to their new town. Aki says that Hinamizawans who live far from the village will be cursed, and Haruko says they aren’t from the village like Aki is, and they have no intention of going back to Okinomiya. Aki and Haruko continue arguing, and Natsumi asks Touji if Aki was really against moving there; Touji says she was, and Aki says that every family who moved from Okinomiya is cursed as well, slamming the table and yelling that it really is Oyashiro-sama’s curse.
Later that night, Touji assures Natsumi that Aki is just shocked by the disaster and will calm down soon. Natsumi looks at Aki praying again, who begs for Oyashiro-sama to protect her family and continues repeating his name.