Plot: Midori Kurenai is an aging actress looking to pass the torch to her soon-to-be adopted daughter, Ayaka. Everyone’s very excited about her upcoming role in the hit production ‘Lady Detective,’ sure to skyrocket her career and give Kurenai a fond retirement to the acting world. Kurenai is a harsh teacher, however. So harsh that Ayaka feels the need to contact Hell Correspondence.
Breakdown: This was a fantastic episode. Sometimes, since these stories are straightforward enough, the previews for the next episode leave you with no real twists to look forward to, but the preview for this episode didn’t spoil anything. It lead you to believe that the client was Ayaka, and, being fair, it is, but it’s not that simple.
Ayaka was an orphan a couple of years prior. Kurenai acknowledged her talents in acting and decided to adopt her to make her a successor. People were impressed with Ayaka’s abilities, but Kurenai was particularly strict on her protege. Not to the point of abuse, but still very harsh.
Ayaka, fed up with her soon-to-be adoptive mother’s behavior, calls on Hell Correspondence early in the episode to get her sent to hell. However, she doesn’t feel that she should go down that route quite yet since the price is so high. Instead, she recruits a couple of her thuggish friends to pretend to attack Kurenai so Ayaka can pretend to save her, hopefully gaining her the respect and praise that she believes she deserves.
Throughout the episode, Ren, Hone Onna and Ai are watching Ayaka since they believe something odd is going on with this client. Ai even gets into investigative mode and asks about the situation to some people at the production company. (While wearing a hat that has the curse mark on it. I thought that was cool.)
I really thought this episode might answer a question I had that was inspired by some similar episodes – Do Ai and the others have the ability to deny a contract?
It’s shown that they can ignore requests if they believe someone is dogging the system, but once the doll is given, do they have the ability to deny that person their entrance into the covenant when the string is pulled? It just seems a tad pointless to me for them to investigate cases such as this if they have no power to refuse ‘service’ so to speak, once the doll has been given.
Another short scene raised a different question. This doll is not invisible to others. It can also be stolen by others. If it’s stolen and the thief pulls the string, does the thief get sent to hell or does the client? Does no one, since the contract did not involve this third party? If the doll goes missing or gets destroyed, what then? It’s alive, being one of Ai’s companions, so logic would dictate that it could just find its way back, but I still wonder.
Most of these stories do involve individuals who have been wronged by evil people, but the further along we get into the episode, it’s clear that Ayaka’s the heartless bitch and Kurenai’s just a very strict professional who wants Ayaka to be the brightest star in Hollywood. Thus we’re lead to believe that somewhere down the line a relatively innocent person will get sent to hell and a horrible person will get what she wants because of Hell Girl.
It also raises the question of, what happens if a client is already damned to hell? Certainly a good chunk of the people who try to use Hell Correspondence are assholes who just want someone in their way dead. You can’t find much value in getting that soul for hell if it had a one-way ticket to begin with. Redemption for even the worst people is possible, I suppose, but still.
When it comes down to it, the question about denying a person entrance into the contract once a doll has been given is not answered, but the conflict is resolved in a creative way that gives the rightful person her just desserts. Who does it and why is something I won’t spoil.
The hell torture this time around was horrifying and definitely some of the creepiest imagery we’ve had to date. It was a very creative and satisfying sendoff for her.
One more note about this episode, it has a lot of swearing. I was surprised, to be honest. I don’t think I’ve heard more than one usage of a swear as bad as ‘shit’ during any episode so far, but this episode has a steady stream of f-bombs and shit slinging. Most of it comes from Ayaka and her goons, but it still surprised me quite a bit that they were so flippant with the swearing here.
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