Hell Girl Episode 23: The Light of the Hospital Ward Review

Hell Girl Ep 23 title

Plot: Tsugumi’s latest vision is an oddity. For the first time, she has a clear view of the target, a very kind nurse named Kanako, but only a very vague silhouette of the client. Finding the client proves to be a big challenge since no one appears to have a negative thing to say about Kanako. Is this the first time Ai ferries a completely innocent person to hell?

Breakdown:

Hajime: “A beautiful young nurse. Must be my lucky day.”

Tsugumi: “Don’t forget that she’s a beautiful young nurse that someone wants to send to hell.”

Hajime: “Give me a break, Tsugumi. I’d want to save her from hell no matter what she looked like.”

Uhhhh what? I’m pretty sure she meant that you should be wary of being attracted to her because, if she’s a Hell Girl target, she’s probably someone very bad.

Tsugumi: “Hajime, we shouldn’t butt in! I mean, if someone’s mad enough to summon Hell Girl, they’re going to get real angry when we try to stop them.”

Why are you acting like this is the first time you’ve done this? Also, if you didn’t want to interfere, why did you tell Hajime about your vision in the first place?

Hajime: “So, what then? We just let it happen?”

Tsugumi: “Maybe…”

Hajime: “Not a chance, kiddo. Revenge is bad. That’s that.”

What is with this whole horribly written conversation? And, again, Hajime, if you really want to convince Tsugumi that your view is the right one, maybe not brush off every conversation like this with the same ‘Revenge is bad, mmkay?’ mantra you keep spewing out.

Also, insanely obvious recycled footage in the stairway is fun.

Nurse: “Good afternoon, sir.”

Hajime: “Haha, yeah, thanks.”

the room 1

What is this dialogue? It’s like a drunken first draft.

Hajime: *sees Kanako’s stomach when she stretches* *fans himself with paper* “Well, hellooo nurse.”

Did he just make an Animaniacs reference? Am I in Bizzaro World?

Neighbor: “Aw, how precious. You’re sweet on her.” Disheveled guy you’ve never met before randomly pulls you aside asking if the sweet innocent nurse next door has anyone with a possible vendetta against her, then asks if she has a boyfriend and your first reaction is ‘Aw, you’re sweet on her.’ not ‘Oh my god, this guy is a total creeper. Should I call the cops?’? I just made it to the five minute mark and nearly every line gives me pause.

Let’s recap the rest or we’ll be here all day.

Tsugumi’s latest vision is about a nurse named Kanako, and the client this time is cloaked in mystery. However, the circumstances surrounding this case are very odd. Despite Hajime’s efforts, he keeps coming up empty when trying to figure out who might have a grudge against her. Every single person he speaks to has nothing but nice things to say about her. She’s beautiful, smart, kind and everyone she meets loves her. Even investigating within the hospital as a patient yields no results.

They finally think they’ve hit pay dirt when they meet the elderly Mr. Higuchi. He is vehement in his belief that Kanako made a mistake while caring for his wife, which ended up killing her. Kanako and the staff deny this, and even the police have told him that there’s nothing to suggest a mistake or foul play was a part of it. He takes every person who denies him help or claims that Kanako didn’t do anything as being paid off.

Hell Girl Ep 23 Screen1

They watch him yelling at the nurses one night about his wife, even wishing Kanako to go to hell, so they believe he’s their man. Hajime tries to talk some sense into Mr. Higuchi and convince him to not use the doll, but he’s shocked to find out that Mr. Higuchi has no idea what he’s talking about. He’s clueless about computers and never heard of Hell Correspondence.

Meanwhile, Tsugumi is on an acid trip of a Hell Girl vision, which is more nightmarish than anything. The main points of it are a plane landing, Tsugumi watching the sunset and Kanako slowly sinking into the hospital roof.

She’s so out of it that Kanako finds her in a daze and brings her into the hospital for treatment and rest.

Tsugumi, who had initially detested Kanako because she believed she must’ve been a bad person, changes her mind about her as she talks to her after waking up. Kanako doesn’t even hold a grudge against Mr. Higuchi for yelling at her since she believes it was just a terrible circumstance. He was probably very lonely and sad, and part of her job might be taking the brunt of such tangents for the sake of alleviating some of their pain.

Tsugumi offers her an apple as a gift and Kanako leaves the room. Tsugumi rushes after her only to find the apple on the floor and Kanako gone. She has been taken to hell.

As Kanako takes that familiar boat ride, she starts panicking and asks who could’ve sent her to hell. Ai shows her a shadowy vision of a man in a baseball cap and Kanako says she’s never seen or met that man before in her life. She starts crying and pleading to be let free, but Ai cannot meet her request. She just ferries her off like everyone else.

Hell Girl Ep 23 Screen2

Wanyuudou, Hone Onna and Ren watch from the riverside, claiming they feel bad about this case, but Ren states that this is just one of several instances of this happening over the centuries in which they’ve been doing this. It’s just a part of the job. Wanyuudou, however, states that he can tell that Ai’s heart is starting to break after all these years.

Meanwhile, Tsugumi and Hajime run out into the lobby where they see the shadowy hat man with a creepy toothy grin and a red string hanging from his finger. Tsugumi knows this man is the client since he showed up in her vision.

They give chase, but only find his corpse. He has killed himself by ingesting a bottle of pills. They’ll never know who he was or why he did it.

Hajime: “Maybe he sent her to hell because he didn’t like her face.”

That’s not how this works!

People are only supposed to be able to access Hell Correspondence if they have a grudge against someone. If he didn’t like her face, that wouldn’t be vengeance in his heart – it would be petty anger. Also, the guy killed himself immediately after so this doesn’t fit.

My best theory is that this guy is off his rocker. He tried to ask Kanako out, she rejected him and he snapped. He called Hell Girl in an ‘if I can’t have you, no one can’ way and killed himself after because that’s just the way a lot of these cases pan out. This is iffy because Kanako said she’s never seen him before, but it’s the best I can figure.

Hell Girl Ep 23 Screen3

Hajime: “Maybe he just wanted to hurt someone.”

Again, not how this works. Also, there are many ways you can hurt someone without selling your soul to the devil.

Hajime: “Well, Tsugumi, still think we should mind our own business and let it happen?”

Pftapbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbtttttttttttttttt

flipping off

Fuck you, you self-righteous prick!

Your seven year old daughter is crying her eyes out behind you, realizing someone supposedly innocent and very kind went to hell while standing in front of a corpse of a supposed psycho who killed her for an unknown reason and your first reaction is basically “Told ya sooooooooooo!”? Get off your high horse and fall into the pile of shit it left behind.

Not only is this a terrible thing to say to a little kid, but give her a damn break. She’s seven years old and you’re asking her to understand the complexities regarding morality in revenge and the untold gray areas this creates.

At least Tsugumi is understandable in how slightly bratty she’s been acting. She does understand Hell Girl’s side a lot of time. She is literally able to see through her eyes. She’s also been on nearly every case Hajime has investigated and seen and heard a lot of terrible atrocities either in person or through her visions. It’s difficult to grasp ‘Revenge is bad. That’s that.’ when you’re involved in cases where people murder, rape, blackmail, assault or otherwise torment innocent people.

Hajime has no excuse for his crappy attitude. Like he mentioned the episode before last, he’s the adult here. I’m not asking him to be perfect either as a person or a parent, but don’t stoop to a childish level of ‘Welp, you wanna take your precious Hell Girl’s side now, Tsugumi?’

Tsugumi has many more points in her favor than Hajime, she has even made better arguments for her side, yet the episode before last is, so far, the only time she’s ever slightly rubbed it in Hajime’s face. Even then, she really just flatout blamed him for Yuko’s suffering instead of going ‘Hmph, I was right. Nananananaaaa.’

Hell Girl Ep 23 Screen4

Let’s go through some math here. Only taking into account the cases we’ve seen over the series, we can accept 23 people into our sample. So far, only one fully confirmed innocent person, to the best of our knowledge, has been the target. That means Hell Girl has around a 4% ‘failure’ rate. Is that really a strong enough foundation to build your entire argument on?

This episode confuses me, though. I get that, eventually, we needed to have a case where a seemingly innocent person is the target in order to drive home the message that Hell Girl’s service isn’t right. However, as we’ve seen over the course of the series, there are supposed to be failsafes to stop people from abusing the system.

First and foremost, you’re supposed to have a legitimate grudge to even access Hell Girl’s website. This has been fully established since many people have been shown trying to access the website but failing because they don’t have a grudge. One of the best examples of this was in the episode Purgatory Girl, where Fukumoto was unable to see Hell Girl’s ad until he had a vendetta against Okochi.

Can you fabricate vendettas in order to abuse the system? That seems like a stupid workaround.

Second, you’re not supposed to use the service for petty reasons. A good example of this is in the episode The Woman in the Tall Tower. While we’re unsure if Riho was unable to access Hell Correspondence herself, Ai refused Misato’s requests time and again because she was trying to put in petty requests for Riho.

It’s unclear if these requests didn’t go through because Misato wasn’t inputting the actual target of her hatred or if the targets in question were being put on the line for reasons as petty as just shooing away corporate competition. I’ve recently become uncertain of the former because, if Ai and the others know who the target of the client is, why would they need the client to input their name into the website? Just like a legal binding contract thing?

Third, how many people would be stupid enough to go through the trouble of working around those rules to sell their soul to send someone innocent to hell for really no reason?

If these really are just psychos who want to hurt people, why not go the easier route and just, ya know, hurt them?

It’s not even like the clients get to see anything happen to these people. As we’ve seen before, the targets usually just vanish or get quickly whisked away by something. The clients don’t get to see the hell torture, which, I believe, is what a psycho would want.

Hell Girl Ep 23 Screen5

People like that almost always want to at least see the suffering they’re causing, and most of them want to actually be inflicting it in person.

Taking all of the theatrics out of the equation, imagine seeing that firsthand. Someone with a big creepy grin on his face pulls a red string off a doll………then nothing because Kanako wasn’t even in the same room as him when he did that. Then he just walks away. Hoo. Was it good for you?

Also, doesn’t this case kinda mar what Hajime’s trying to say? If revenge really wasn’t a factor here, and he was just a psycho who wanted to hurt someone, this doesn’t support Hajime’s ‘revenge is bad, we have to stop it’ argument. His mission, if this case is meant to be supportive, should be to stop people from abusing the system so innocent people won’t get sent to hell.

I almost want to condemn them for not revealing the client’s reasoning as much as I want to applaud them for it. On one hand, keeping it a secret is meant to add to the idea that some Hell Girl clients don’t have a good justification for their actions – They’re just assholes. On the other hand, that can easily be interpreted as insanely lazy writing.

Tsugumi runs off crying because Hajime’s an asswipe, and she’s suddenly thrust into another vision where she sees a young Ai and Sentarou playing around. The present day Ai shows up, surprised that Tsugumi not only knows about Sentarou, but is able to see this memory.

Hell Girl Ep 23 Screen6

Because we’re never supposed to learn this guy’s name and the fact that he’s already dead (thus has no reason to have a symbolic candle of remaining life) we don’t get the typical lighting of the candle with Ai saying ‘Your grievance shall be avenged.’

We’re also spared Kanako’s hell torture, though.

———————————–

This episode was terrible. The dialogue is horribly written a bulk of the time, and it just seemed like this episode was cherry picked for the sake of making Tsugumi have a moral crisis. All it amounted to was Hajime basically jerking himself off on ‘Hah, I was right!’ even though, technically, this case didn’t support his side very much, at least not from what we’ve seen.

And I have to emphasize how ridiculously goody goody Kanako is. From all I’ve seen, she has zero faults. Everyone single person loves her. Not even her fellow nurses are jealous of how much attention she gets. She has every guy fawning over her, she’s smart, skilled, incredibly kind, caring, understanding, empathetic, forgiving etc. She’s damn near unrealistic in how perfect she is.

It’s like the writers purposely designed this second coming of Jesus female edition for the sake of making us feel as bad as possible when she gets sent to hell. That’s also one of the reasons why I’m not completely bought on the idea that there wasn’t an actual grievance here. If I’m to believe she has no faults or skeletons in her closet, I’m forced to lose sympathy because people this perfect don’t exist.

It’s so weird that this series is built on the audience enjoying the cathartic release of watching horrible people get sent to hell for many episodes and then at the tail end of the series they do everything in their power to jam ‘revenge is wrong’ down our throats. That’s like an ice cream parlor employee watching you eat a sundae he served you and then coming over to your table to call you a porker.

Even the animation today was just terrible. In addition to recycled animation from the same damn episode, within a minute of each other no less, the faces are all over the place and there are many instances of paper cutout animation, especially during Tsugumi’s vision. I was nearly laughing at how terrible that airplane behind her looked.

I keep getting told Studio Deen is a lot better now, but I have a hard time believing that since this moderate to terrible animation has been going on for over half the series now. And let’s not even talk about Shining TearsXWind. That’s a beast for another day.

Rating: 3/10

Next Episode…..

…Previous Episode