Plot: Minami used to be best friends with a girl named Shiori, but Shiori has seemingly abandoned her. Left with no friends and ignored by everyone else, Minami wants revenge on Shiori by sending her to hell.
Breakdown: This episode was interesting, but also kinda dumb.
It slightly explored a question I had previously about the ages of clients. Middle school is reaching tween age, but does Hell Girl have an age restriction for who she takes on as clients? At this age, children are extremely emotional and their brains are still not fully developed. They have not yet reached a maturity level necessary for major life decisions, and I’m pretty sure sending yourself or another person to hell counts as a major life decision.
Is the only age requirement being old enough to type? Because you could have little five-year-olds damning another kid to hell for stealing his fire truck in the sand box.
Nonetheless, Ai still offers a doll to Minami, which leads us to the ‘why’ of this situation. Does Shiori really deserve to go to hell? Her age already leans her greatly to ‘no’ but the reasons are also not very strong at all.
Shiori was a new transfer student to the middle school. She was approached by Shiori, and they quickly became best friends. However, she was soon ditched as a friend when Shiori became friends with two other girls. Why she couldn’t also be friends with them, I have no idea. This episode makes it seem like friends come in packs of three. Also, as we’ll see later, the girls in question get no comeuppance despite them being the friend-swapping asswipes.
Minami still tried to contact Shiori in person and through texts. Her friends convinced her that Minami was a straight-up stalker when they discover that she’s been sending her a text once every half hour. Shiori’s new friends also tell her to tell their teacher to get her to back off, which she does.
Minami tries to speak with Shiori in person to convince her that she’s not a stalker, but accidentally causes her to fall over, making everyone in the class vilify Minami even though it was an accident. Also, I don’t understand why all of her classmates know her as a stalker and are so quick to viciously defend Shiori. If she was that popular, the ending never would’ve happened.
Minami grows to hate Shiori so much that she calls upon Hell Girl. This is another instance where we get a very slight window into some emotion for Ai. She lays down the regular ground rules for the Hell Correspondence, and Minami doesn’t seem that deterred at all of the prospect of going to hell for if the same happens to Shiori. In fact, despite wanting to do it as soon as possible, with Ai still in the room, she proclaims that she wants to pull the string right in front of her face.
At that declaration, though slight, Ai does change facial expressions to seeming notably uncomfortable. I don’t know if this level of hatred in such a young girl is putting her off, or if she feels uncomfortable having such young clients, or perhaps Minami reminds her a bit of herself, but the shift is there.
Minami constantly creepily stares at Shiori throughout every day of classes. Shiori catches a glimpse of the straw doll one day and steals it, believing it to be some weird voodoo doll that Minami is using to try and curse her. This part also slightly addresses another question I had which was, ‘What happens if the doll is lost or stolen?’ the answer is, maybe not much.
Shiori nails the doll to a pole, believing it will, somehow, curse Minami back (she doesn’t seem to know how curses work in the slightest). When Ai, Hone Onna and Ren arrive, they plan on taking Wanyuudou down and just leaving the situation be, which I guess means if the doll is stolen or lost, it reverts ownership back to Ai and the others, maybe? However, Ai decides to leave Wanyuudou there for the time being (nice) and let the situation play out some more.
The next day, Minami is missing from school, and Shiori believes her curse worked. She flips flops from believing she deserved it to worrying if the curse killed her to not caring if the curse killed her. This was the one moment where I kinda thought she maybe deserved to go to hell now, but 1) I doubt she truly believes the curse is real and 2) this train of thought is not very unbelievable for any kid her age, as scary as that is. If Minami really did suddenly die, I’m sure her thoughts would change.
When the students get grouped up for a project, Shiori’s new friends leave her out, revealing they’ve found a new friend. Since friends travel in packs of three, Shiori is without friends just like Minami, I guess.
She immediately texts Minami to make amends, and Minami is surprisingly quick to nab up this opportunity, even chastising herself for even thinking of calling on Hell Girl. When she meets with Shiori, she explains the situation with her now ex-friends, apologizes and makes up with Minami. This is another show of either this kid having an emotional disorder or her being too emotionally immature to make these types of decisions.
Just when you think this might be one case where the client resolves things with the target without fire and brimstone, even to the point where Ai is seen walking away from the scene, Shiori pulls a fast one and says they should curse their classmates with the doll.
Minami explains that the doll doesn’t work as a voodoo doll or anything, and states that the red string needs to be pulled in order for it to work. When it does, it sends its target to hell. Shiori is so uncharacteristically stupid here, because she instantly wants to pull the thread, even though she should be intelligent enough to put the pieces together and come to the conclusion that she’s still the doll’s target and she has done nothing to the doll, if possible, to switch the target.
Minami has a bit more sense and stops her from pulling the string, stating that she has to be the one to do it. Shiori forces the string pulling on her physically, but Minami resists when she tells her that the user also gets sent to hell. I don’t know why Minami doesn’t stop her by saying pulling the string will send her to hell, but with an evil smirk and a yank of Minami’s arm, the string is pulled and Shiori is whisked to hell.
As Minami collapses and tries to claim that she didn’t want this, Ai suddenly shows up stating that she did want this. She allowed herself to get so consumed with hatred that she welcomed this and even got her wish of pulling the string in front of Shiori’s face.
In an interesting turn of events, we get no hell torture scene this time around. Instead, we only get Shiori’s pleas for help and crying out for Minami, which Minami seems to be able to hear.
As she shows her curse mark to Hajime (oh yeah, he’s here still) she believes she’ll meet Shiori again someday in hell where she hopes they’ll be friends again. Because if there’s one thing they have plenty of in hell, it’s friendship.
I honestly don’t know if I classify this absolute end as sad or stupid. I’m inclined to believe it’s a bit of both. She is at an age where she should know friendship in hell is a little bit stupid to believe, but the only reason she wants to believe it is because now she’s back to having no friends. She sent her only ‘friend’ to hell and now she’s destined for hell when she dies. That silly thought is really all she has to look forward to now.